Having a mental illness and staying positive...

Having a mental illness can be a constant struggle. It can affect every aspect of your life and make everyday stuff impossible, Staying positive can be tough, but it makes a huge difference if you try. Here are a few tips and tricks that I have found helpful...

1. Reminding yourself you are loved. 
Depression lies. It tells you that you are worthless and that nobody cares about you which can make you shut people out even more. In those times (and any time) remind yourself of the people that care. Look back at pictures of your family and friends, think of happy memories, and maybe even keep ajournal of your favourite times to look back on.

2. Look after yourself.
That means if you feel tired then sleep. Have a nice bath, spend some time doing something you enjoy. Just make time for yourself.

3. Try and make healthier choices.
This one is always a struggle for me but eating healthier and doing a bit of exercise can help. A doctor once told me to do some exercise after I went there to admit I was struggling with depression (before my diagnosis.) Spoiler alert: going for a run doesn't cure depression! But it has been proven to help improve mood and anxiety so is worth giving a try. (link)

4. Get a good nights sleep.
This kind of touches on point 2 but sleep is so important it deserves a point of it's own. Lack of sleep can play a big part in depression (when being diagnosed the questionnaires the doctors give you will ask about your sleep patterns.) Getting a good nights sleep can lift your mood- here are some tips that might help.

5. Having a routine.
I find this helps me hugely, I have a clear structure to every day so that it keeps me busy and I feel productive. Routine is also important if you have anxiety- I find that I feel a lot calmer, relaxed and clear headed if I have a plan for the day and I'm prepared.

6. Having goals.
This one is another important one. I find it really useful to make checklists for the week and each day so that I have a list of tasks to do. It can be chores, appointments... anything: even little stuff like an email you need to send, or having a shower, doing some reading etc... Not only does it help with motivation but it's also a great feeling to cross stuff off when they are completed. You can gradually start adding bigger stuff to your list when you are ready.

7. Talking about it.
If you feel anxious or depressed don't hide it, tell someone. Whether that's a friend or family member or doctor is up to you. There are even many facebook groups and forums online where you can talk to others in similar situations. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of- you are one of many. In fact mental health problems are the main cause of the overall disease burden worldwide (source.)

I hope those tips are helpful :)
I'm not sure if people are enjoying my posts on mental health (or finding them useful) but I find it kind of therapeutic to write them so I'm going to continue with it.

Here are some others I've written:

Bipolar awareness day
My bipolar story
Panic: dealing with anxiety

As always feel free to message me or leave a comment with any requests, questions or if you just want to chat :)

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