Being a person with a mental illness, how to care for mental health in your daily life is the most important thing to learn if you desire success and independence in your life.
While this article can help people without mental illnesses, people must realize that for individuals diagnosed with mental disorders, independence and opportunities for success can be taken away… so it becomes doubly important to practice and exercise these skills.
The relationship between self-esteem and self care.
If you have lost your independence due to a mental illness, being able to take care of yourself is the first thing you would need to prove in order to re-gain independence and trust from other people.
However; to care for yourself, in the emotional sense of the word, is different from taking care of yourself, but the two are related. Each is just as important in your recovery.
This difference can be illustrated in raising children; you can take care of your kids, and/or you can care for your kids. One can be done without the other, but both would be improved by combining the two.
So in self care: don’t only take care of yourself, care for yourself as well. Look to yourself for encouragement, and see to it that your own needs are met.
Try looking in the mirror. Look at your reflection without harsh judgment… Who is that person anyway? Think you see fat, or too skinny? Freckles? Pimples? Tall? Short?
You are unique, and no different from anyone else in that matter.
Let me ask you this: If you care about another person: would you even think about them judgmentally? Or would you love them just the way they are?
Look at yourself no differently. You are beautiful just the way you are! Accept your flaws as part of you, and own them! Rock them! You are beautiful in your uniqueness. Be your own best friend, love yourself!
Which brings me back to self care; If you loved someone, you would want to help them feel better if they are feeling sad, or sick, right You would want try to take care of and be there for them, right?
Treat yourself no differently.
- Treat yourself to a hot tea.
- Cook yourself a tasty meal.
- Take a shower.
- Give a genuine smile to that beautiful person in the mirror. Wink at them!
- Listen to your favorite music album.
- Draw or color.
- Read a book.
- Write a journal.
- Work towards a goal.
- Distract yourself from negative or harmful thought patterns by playing with a fidget spinner, going out, or watching TV.
- Mindfulness exercise.
- Call a person who cares about you.
- Visit a loved one.
- Give yourself permission to take a nap, if that’s what you need.
Taking time for your physical and emotional health with any of these steps will demonstrate that you care about yourself; this the heart of emotional health, and are important first steps towards your independence.
Be mindful of your thoughts and actions.
Mindfulness as an exercise;
Take time to slow down your breathing. Focus on your sensations. Be mindful of your thoughts and of the consequential actions of your thoughts. At the moment, try to just be present, aware of yourself, and your thoughts.
Thoughts lead to impulses. Impulses lead to actions, and/or intentions. Recognize the difference.
Don’t get angry at yourself for having negative or harmful thoughts, but try to remover yourself and observe them, non-judgmentally. Observe what impulses you are after having these thoughts. Consider what effects of acting on these thoughts would have on yourself, and on the people around you.
Take time to consider which actions, feelings or symptoms might trigger a downward spiral of lost control. Recognize the signs, and take immediate counter-actions to re-gain control of yourself and your actions; such as this mindfulness exercise, or some other method of self care.
Once you learn to be aware of your mental triggers, then you can then take responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and how those actions affect the people around you. These are the keys to self-control and self-actualization.
Take responsibility for your thoughts and your actions.
Rely on yourself for these things, then you begin to earn your own trust, and, the trust of others.
Try not to overwhelm your loved ones with your needs.
Your loved ones are imperfect people who may or may not have perfect intentions.
I don’t know your loved ones or how they operate. Everyone is different. They may want to support you, the might want you to support yourself with outside help.
Your desire to be an independent adult should be accompanied by actions of meeting your own needs; or if you can’t, I strongly recommend you seek outside help.
Accepting help from loved ones is a good thing, but relying on them for help hinders you from independence. Allow them to express their love, but don’t pressure them to do more than the can offer or are capable.
Another person cannot meet all your needs. Even for children who are fully reliant on others, it takes a village.
The key thing to remember though is that, you are not a child. Accept help, but don’t rely on it.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
There is no shame in taking advantage of community services that have been put in place for people with mental illnesses.
Group meetings, drop-in centers, meetings with community mental health workers, counseling services, walking groups, reading groups, volunteering, meaningful employment, attending classes, and other community activities can all help with socialization and self-esteem.
Talking to other people, and hearing others’ points of view, are important human needs. Get out the door and meet people. Make new acquaintances. Listen to others’ needs. Help others, if you have the resources.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to community mental health services, such as a crisis line or crisis stabilization unit, when you feel anything spinning out of control. It’s okay to seek help when it is needed.
That’s what they are there for.
“Good health is a crown on the head of a well person that only a sick person can see.” ~ The Greatness Guide.
In the same way, the freedom of independence wears like a crown on the head of a well person, that those in captivity may long and strive for. Independence should not be taken for granted, nor should mental health. Appreciate it if you have it.
If you have any opinions, feedback, or questions on today’s blog, please, enter them into the comments below! Maybe your experiences can help someone!
Thanks for reading,
- Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t (Zen as F*ck Journals)
- The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter–One Month at a Time
- The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self-Care
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