I wanted to share with you some of the key steps I follow to improve and maintain my Mental Health. These steps have been so helpful to me, I hope that they will provide the same to other people that may feel they need it. It’s also a great excuse to write a list, which is something I really love to do!!
- Curative Hypnotherapy
Going to my Curative Hypnotherapy sessions with Keith have been ultimately what have put me on the road to recovery. It allowed me to deal with the root cause of my Anxiety, enabling me to let go of the beliefs I had of myself, which were ultimately created by the thoughts, opinions and actions of other’s. Curative Hypnotherapy is something that I highly recommend because it has honestly changed my life and also the lives of many others. When it seemed, there was no hope Curative Hypnotherapy swooped in like a super hero and saved the day!
Find out more about Curative Hypnotherapy by visiting Keith’s website www.keithgulliscurativehypnotherapy.co.uk
2. Keep pushing yourself
In order to maintain our mental health, we must keep moving forward.
For so long I thought the best way to deal with my Anxiety was by avoiding the triggers. This ultimately just makes it worse and simply pushes you further and further back each time you avoid something.
I have used a picture of travelling in a car above, because for me Travelling is my biggest trigger. There was a period of time that I wouldn’t even leave the house, and as you can imagine my mental health just kept deteriorating.
Ultimately, it’s about baby steps, I still can’t travel much more than an hour in the car at this current time, but that is 45minutes more than I could travel 6months ago, which is great! It shows that although a trigger, it is achievable if i just keep pushing myself and it shows progression!
It wasn’t until I had anxiety that I realised how much I need and thrive when I have a routine. Being a mum of two means routines have always been a key part of my parenting, for example implementing and sticking where possible to A bedtime Routine.
I wrote a Blog recently, Blog#20 Routine and Mental Health, it spoke about how much I need a routine, in fact I do wonder if it is more useful and effective for me than it is the children!
Routine gives me the control and safety I need in a day, I know exactly where I am, what I am doing and what is expected of me, which really makes me happy. It also helps to keep me focused and busy.
4. Setting Goals
This step I feel has been an important one for me personally. It’s not just about the long-term goals or even monthly goals, daily goals can be just as important.
People who suffer with Mental Health Illnesses will understand that there are days when even just lifting your head off the pillow can be a mission impossible. Tasks that seem so simple to some are seemingly impossible to others.
Every evening before I go to bed, I write myself a list (another list, because I’m not sure if I mentioned, lists make me really happy) a list of 3 to 5 achievable goals or tasks I’d like to complete the following day.
For example: –
- Get out of bed
- Get dressed
- Put on a load of washing
- Go for a 10 minute walk
It can sometimes be very hard to see or recognise anything you have done throughout a day especially when your mind is elsewhere, by writing yourself a small list of goals it allows you to tick those items off and see clearly what you have manage to achieved. It also helps you to see the progress you are making no matter how small it may seem, it is a step in the right direction.
Remember when writing your list of goal’s, they need to be SMART
Specific: Well defined, clear and unambiguous.
Measurable: With specific criteria that measure progress towards the accomplishment of the goal.
Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve.
Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose.
Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.
Exercise, specifically running for me, makes me feel so much better. I enjoy that time on my own, it feels like an escape. A time when all other worries and thoughts leave my mind, I am just focusing on my breathing and nothing else. I always feel so much happier and more productive after exercise.
According to the NHS website: www.nhs.uk
Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, and evidence shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing.
We think that the mind and body are separate. But what you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental wellbeing.
Mental wellbeing means feeling good – both about yourself and about the world around you. It means being able to get on with life in the way you want.
Evidence shows there’s a link between being physically active and good mental wellbeing.
Being active doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym, if that doesn’t appeal to you.
Find physical activities you enjoy and think about how to fit more of them into your daily life.
How exercise helps your mental wellbeing.
Scientists think physical activity helps maintain and improve wellbeing in a number of ways.
Physical activity can help people with mild Depression. Evidence shows it can also help protect people against anxiety.
Physical activity is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood.
Some scientists think being active can improve wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to rise to a challenge.
6. Diet and reducing my sugar intake
I have always been someone that LOVES food, especially the sweet treats! There’s nothing I enjoy more than snuggling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a nice bar of chocolate. Recently though I began to notice that the sugar I was consuming was really having a negative effect on my mood. It makes me a lot more tired and lethargic and I feel as though I have little or no motivation. The same effect is had when eating other foods also, such as carbohydrates, again something else I love, but just doesn’t have a great effect on my mood and motivation. I am now making a conscious effort to cut down on these types of food. I don’t intend to cut them out completely because I don’t see there anything wrong in having a treat every now again, but I am more conscious and aware about what I put into my body.
According to Healthline.com
- Sugar leads to highs and lows
Consuming a large amount of processed sugar can trigger feelings of worry, irritability, and sadness — which can be a double whammy if you also deal with depression or anxiety.
But why does sugar cause such a problem?
After eating too much sugar, your body releases insulin to help absorb the excess glucose in the bloodstream and stabilize blood sugar levels. That’s a good thing, right? Not necessarily.
Here’s why: A sugar rush makes your body work hard to get back to normal levels.
This roller coaster of ups and downs can leave you feeling nervous, foggy, irritable, jittery, and drained.
If you have anxiety or depression, those symptoms are likely ones you already deal with on a daily basis. Sugar will exacerbate them.
2. Sugar can increase your risk of developing depression
It’s hard to avoid reaching for the sweets, especially after a difficult day. And when you’re dealing with depression, sometimes food can serve as a form of self-medication.
But this vicious cycle of consuming sugar to numb your emotions will only make your symptoms of sadness, fatigue, and hopelessness worse.
Overconsumption of sugar triggers imbalances in certain brain chemicals. These imbalances can lead to depression and may even increase the long-term risk of developing a mental health disorder in some people.
In fact, a 2017 study found that men who consumed a high amount of sugar (67 grams or more) each day were 23 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of clinical depression within five years.
Even though the study just involved men, the link between sugar and depression is also evident in women.
7. Reducing my intake of alcohol
There was a period in my life that I really enjoyed the social drinking scene, going out most weekends having a drink and just enjoying myself. A faze I think not all but most of us go through at some point in our lives.
As my Mental health started to deteriorate it became really clear that alcohol would contribute or exasperate my low mood and depression. I felt as though after drinking alcohol my depression was always worse, the negative thoughts and feelings I had of myself were made worse.
According to the independent charity Drinkaware ….
“Regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin on your brain, a chemical that helps to regulate your mood.
Our brain relies on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt that balance, affecting our thoughts, feelings and actions and sometimes our long-term mental health”.
I struggle to remember the last time I had a drink now. Since cutting right back and almost stopping all together I feel so much better. My mood seems much more consistent and I don’t wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning with a hangover, which is lovely!
I will still allow myself to have the occasional drink with a meal and possibly one or two at Christmas, but it’s not something I miss, in fact I could probably go tea total if I am honest. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking that I realised just how much of an effect it was having on my mental health.
I have always expressed in my blog’s how much writing has helped me maintain a healthy state of mind. It allows me to express exactly how I feel, point by point and then I am able to read it back, evaluate and figure out the cause behind those thoughts and feelings.
Suffering with Anxiety it feels as though my mind is always so full, writing is for me the perfect way to empty it a little. It can also feel very daunting and overwhelming when you feel as though you have a never-ending list of things to do, when you write them down it feels a lot more manageable and seems far more likely that you can complete those tasks.
Keeping a journal of your thoughts and experiences also allows you to look back and see how far you have come, something that we sometimes struggle to see on our own.
9. Have a conversation
Talking about my Mental Health illnesses is something that If I am completely honest, I did struggle with in the beginning. Still such a taboo subject I couldn’t help feeling ashamed and embarrassed about it.
Forcing myself to be open and honest about my struggles has really helped me realise how many other people are affected in some way by mental health illnesses. Something that can’t be seen but that can have such a colossal impact on our lives.
When you share your thoughts, feelings and worries with another, it opens up the opportunity to find a solution, one that on your own you hadn’t thought of. It also opens the door to support, the support from another, making you feel less lonely and giving you the encouragement, you may need to keep going.
Having Anxiety and Depression made me feel very isolated and alone, I didn’t believe that anyone understood how I felt or what it was like to live like I was. Talking to people has helped to ease those feelings, realising that actually I wasn’t alone at all and that there were many other people feeling the exact same way.
Having a conversation about how I feel and the things that I have been struggling with I believe have really been life – saving. The phrase “A problem shared is a problem halved” is one that I truly believe and I personally will continue to do and I will always encourage others to do the same.
10. Do what makes you happy
One thing that I think gets easily forgotten about, whether you have a mental health illness or not, is to remember to make time for the things you love and enjoy. It is so easy to get caught up in habit and daily life routine that we forget to make time for those little things.
A few of the things that I really love and enjoy:
- Make up
- Reading and writing
- Spending time with family and friends
I try as much as possible to incorporate as many of those things into my daily, weekly or monthly routine. Doing so has really helped me maintain a positive outlook. It’s about making sure that we look after ourselves so that we able to continue on with our lives in a happy and healthy way. Just 15 minutes of your day doing something you enjoy I feel can make such a difference to how you feel.
I have really enjoyed writing and putting this blog together and I hope that my 10 steps will be of some help to others. 💚❤️
Please feel free to comment below, like and share this blog, Thank you.
What do you do to help maintain a healthy state of mind?
What 3 things make you happy?