Recovery is rarely completely clean. Once we have recovered from panic attacks, or acute generalised anxiety, or a period of disabling depression, we are wise to be mindful that we may experience the occasional return of similar states.
If you have recovered from the worst of mental illness, and are managing yourself so that you don’t slip back, here are a few tips.
TIP #1 – KEEP ACTIVE
The positive effect of exercise is well proven. If you can keep physically active, even if you don’t quite feel like it, then you are more likely to remain resilient against a mental health relapse.
TIP #2 – FOLLOW A SLEEP PATTERN
Take your sleep seriously. It’s very easy to slip into staying awake at night. Night often feels safer to those with mental illness, because the world isn’t being overwhelming. However, sleep is a key part of mental resilience. Discuss sleep with your doctor if necessary. Don’t leave it too long.
TIP #3 – DO SOME OF WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
When we recover, we can slip back into pleasing others, at the expense of our own mental health. It’s really important to continue, regularly, to do things that are ‘our activities’, rather than falling back into tough work routines etc.
TIP #4 – DON’T BOTTLE IT UP
Share how you are feeling with a good friend or a counsellor, or even a journal if you prefer. It’s important to find a flow of words which express, for you, how you’re doing. Talking about life is like a plant being watered – it’s essential for personal growth. On our own, we grow stale.
TIP #5 – PACE YOURSELF
Mental illness is really an illness of ‘too much’. It could be too much work, or too much pressure. Managing the propensity to mental illness means becoming one’s own diary manager. It’s very important to plan to operate at maybe 60%, rather than 100%, capacity. It’s also important to balance our activities between busy-ness and rest.
This week, check your daily routines. Make sure that:
- You build in some exercise each day
- You support good sleep patterns
- You include ‘me-time’
- You share how you are feeling with one or two trusted friends
- You manage your diary at 60% capacity, not 100%