The material below was taken from a thread on the facebook page of a friend of The Resiliencefoundry. I would like to thank everyone who contributed such constructive material. Many of the ideas below are also recognised as scientifically valid, but there are also fascinating original and innovative ideas about ways to support yourself.
Not everything works for everyone, but something will help someone.
Hey people, I’m writing a piece on mental well-being and self care, and trying to compile a list of good tips for looking after mental health. Anybody got any ideas that worked for them?
Sometimes distractions help, whenever I’m feeling low or depressed I distract myself by reading or going for a walk or having a bath
What’s really helpful is if you open a WhatsApp chat with yourself and type what you’re feeling. Send the message and then reply to it as though you’re replying to a friend. It makes it easier to show yourself kindness, allows you to vent safely and helps you look at your problems from another angle!
I’ve got a really long ass thread of conversations with myself and as weird as that sounds, it really helps get things off your chest and when it’s in writing, you can form a logical solution rather than dwelling in your thoughts for the rest of the day
Distractions using music/film/ going for walks, focusing on breathing for panic attacks and using like smelling salts and oils to help with grounding/ calming down – Find these very useful. Also a memory box full of old photos/ letters for when feeling down
If you’re stressed/anxious/indecisive then writing lists is a real help! Pros and cons/to do lists (my faves)/ happy and sad things to have happened. Good to look over and get some perspective!
Putting yourself first and actually taking time out for yourself, and treating yourself. Understanding that getting work done isn’t as important as your mental health. And know your limits and when you should stop trying to help others and focus on yourself.
Finding someone who is totally willing to listen, (not to give advice or anything) just ranting and getting it all out can often really help.
Taking time to relax, and taking breaks from all forms of media (i.e. TV or social media). I make sure I spend some time everyday in a park or someplace like that just to clear my head, even if it’s only for like 20 minutes.
Exercising daily is also really important, even if it’s just a 10 minute warm up and stretch.
Also having friends/family you can rely on and keeping in touch with them, talking about how you feel if you’re down or anxious or whatever.
Finally I’d say making sure that I’m relatively organised (but without micromanaging). So like going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time everyday during the week.
Writing your emotions into poetry and later review it and work through the reasons you’re feeling any which way whether it be bad or good
Understanding that when people say that you’re the only person that can help yourself they are right. At first I always thought that someone could just fix it for me but now I know that it’s just me that has to make sure I’m okay. It’s really hard and I also think it’s something that can’t be fixed which is something that people don’t tell you. I’m okay now but sometimes things cross my mind and I can’t expect any less when I’ve been through some really hard times, they’re things that’ll always be with me.
I find this last contribution from Karina quite moving – how she articulates her struggle to take responsibility for herself and realising that the journey to maturity is painful, and that we don’t achieve perfection, but we can become able to manage ourselves so that we are OK.