Self-Help is Key in Recovery

By: Tori Bell (@lifeoftorii)

Therapy and medication can only go so far, and that's only if you have access to either. In a society where there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, it might not be so easy to get the help you need. One of the most important factors in recovery or maintaining a mentally healthy lifestyle is supporting yourself. No one knows you better than you and therefore self-help is key! From personal experience, I discovered professional help was not right for me, so I decided to put in all effort into improving myself and learned a few useful things on the way. 

Keep in mind that everyone is different, and we all have our ways of coping and remember reaching out and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a huge recovery step and will make life a whole lot easier! I strongly advise if not already you seek professional help if you feel you need it. 

Something I took from therapy is that everyone needs a place. Whether it is real or made up, somewhere to go when everything is getting too much can be a big help. Think of that place, incorporate all of your senses into imagining it. Choose a safe environment where you are completely comfortable, where you can go to process things going through your mind. This technique is great for anxiety, panic attacks when you feel like hurting yourself and others, or you just need to escape reality for a while.

Life gets overwhelming at times; there is no denying it. When your thoughts and feeling get trapped inside your mind, it's like the whole world is closing in on you. Get those thoughts out! Write down everything, all of your problems and how you plan on overcoming them. They won’t seem as scary on paper. Keeping a journal is a safe release valve for eliminating all the stress in your life, as well as being an excellent way to track progress. Reliving past events by writing them down, will allow you to process them in a way that eliminates fear and stress. It’s great for your self-esteem too!

When dealing with a mental illness(s) you might have the urge to distance yourself from everyone, but seeking support or just companionship from friends or family is a good way to keep on track. Build a support system around you to keep yourself from feeling like you're battling this alone. It will naturally be more comfortable to retreat and avoid social situations, though this will hinder your progress and it will be a setback, so it is essential to maintain social support.

Taking care of yourself physically will have an enormous impact on your mental health also. Mental illnesses are draining and exhausting as it is, so getting enough sleep and having an adequate routine in place will ease your mind. Getting outside and exercising whether it's for an hour or even ten minutes will be of benefit. What you eat can strongly affect your mood, so cutting out foods which can adversely affect the way you feel will aid your well-being enormously. 

Just like professional help, self-help can only take you so far also, so remember not to battle this alone, seek support from others where available and be patient!

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