Mental health isn’t something you should view as a ‘reaction to’ – it’s an ongoing process that you need to work on every day. Just like an exercise program or a diet regime, your mental health needs a routine. Here are 5 ways to get your program in place. Having a PTSD or Trauma-related Disorder requires careful management. Even when you are well you still have ‘crisis’ days. You need to be prepared for these. Over the last five years, I have slowly developed the following plan that I now follow that helps me enormously cope with those days.
Anyone who suffers from depression has been told by someone that they should try yoga. Most of the time this suggestion inspires little more than a spark of annoyance because in the midst of a depressive episode, doing even light yoga feels impossible. The thing is, yoga can actually be really helpful as part of your regular routine! Yoga as a physical activity is not only great exercise but you can do light yoga at home if you can’t get out of the house, or you can go to a studio and do power yoga for a more strenuous challenge
Bradford Health Services has created an acronym for the things you need to look for when taking stock of how you feel. By regularly checking in on your physical and emotional state, you can catch potential issues early and nip them in the bud before they evolve into full-blown problems. Halt stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Have you eaten a healthy meal or done something that felt satisfying today? Are you frustrated and overstimulated? Have you spent time with loved ones recently? Have you slept well or stepped away from a particularly trying task for a bit? These are all things you should ask yourself when you HALT and take stock of your well-being.
Nothing inspires stress like surprise deadlines or an overwhelming To-Do list. Plan out your week keeping how you feel in mind, but make sure to leave some wiggle room in case you have an off day! If you feel good one day, try to get more done and try to finish some things ahead of schedule. If you feel bad, only do the important stuff and put off what you can so that you can take care of yourself. Don’t expect to feel terrible or have a bunch of off days in a row, but leaving some space in the event that you aren’t feeling up to certain tasks. This will help to keep you on track and keep your to-do list from becoming overwhelming.
Keep Up with Your Appointments
Keep up with your therapist or psychiatrist even when you’re feeling good. It’s so tempting to stop scheduling appointments when you feel like you don’t need them, and certainly scaling back is fine when you’re feeling okay, but ditching them completely is a bad idea. Keeping up with your appointments can help you stay feeling good for longer, and if you start slipping, your team of professionals might be able to identify it before you can and help you stop it from progressing.
Treat Your Self
Treat yourself to a stay at home spa day, a sugary snack, or a Netflix binge when you need it. Managing life in general, not to mention life with mental illness, is exhausting, and you deserve a reward. Take a beat and do something fun to recharge so that you can keep on keeping on.