10 Ways to Build Your Mental Health Security Net

10 Ways to Build Your Mental Health Security Net
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Linda Johnson

There are several avenues to balancing your mental health, and I have been personally working on this aspect of my life for the past seven years since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  The information that I am about to provide has been a positive force in my life and I only hope that these recommendations provide some insight into your own mental health and wellbeing.

#1 – Mental Health Support Team

I have found it extremely helpful to seek the help of a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication and provide support.  You may or may not choose to take medication but in creating my own regime I have found that the right cocktail of medications have truly affected my mood and how I have been able to manage my illness.  A psychiatric nurse, psychologist and a counselor have been  key players in forming my professional mental health team.  There are also an array of support groups available for people who have a mental health condition in numerous communities.  Peer support is often an effective way to do a weekly check in and it is always a positive decision to surround yourself with people who understand the challenges that you face on a daily basis.

#2 – Sleep Regime

I have learned that without sound and cycled sleep I do not function optimally.  I have made it a habit to go to bed by 10:30 pm and rise by 7-8 at the latest.  Going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every day is vital.  If you have a mental health condition or even if you do not, it is imperative to sleep, sleep, sleep!

#3 – Nutrition and Water

This aspect of our lives definitely affects our moods.  You may have heard to eat well and eat often.  I recommend eight glasses of water a day or more, especially for those people who take medications.  It is imperative to flush medications through your system properly to cleanse those kidneys and keep your body, especially your brain running optimally.

#4 – Education of Family, friends and yourself

It is imperative to have that certain somebody that you can do a ‘check in’ with, someone that can be your ‘rock’ or touch base person.  Only you know who that person is.  I consider it advisable to educate yourself about your own illness.  Ensure you are reading from legitimate sources!

#5 – FUN

Hang out with your friends!  Enjoy time with your pet and spend time with your family.  No matter what your version of fun is, ensure that you are having it. 

#6 – Employment Balance

 

Not all of us are made to work full time.  I remember there was a time when I could only work 30 hours a week, I had less money but I was less stressed and I actually was a lot happier.  I have also found peace being forthright with my employer and knowing that if I were to miss time from work I would be understood.  People often say that they would never disclose their illness at work due to the fear of stigma, but then consider would you really want to work for someone who doesn’t support you in your mental health wellness?

#7 – Exercise

You knew this was coming right?  I constantly have to remember that exercise in any amount is valuable.  Even a twenty minute stroll down the street can encourage the right endorphins to run through your system can positively lift your mood.

#8 – Mood Journaling

 

I have come to learn the importance of mood journaling and knowing what affects me negatively has been the key to avoiding certain situations, even certain people if need be.  Mood journals are considered a pain at times, but it is quite helpful for your doctor to see how you are doing to monitor the spikes in your moods and discover what works to even you out.

#9 – Love

I have found that spending quality time with my partner is always an amazing way to let go of some stress.  If you don’t have a partner why not be up for dating?  You may feel that dating is the last thing that you need at times, but really there is nothing more exciting than going out on a date and meeting new people.  Attend local meet ups and who knows, you may meet a new friend to spend some time with.  Despite having a partner or not, it is important to love who you are when you look in the mirror.  Know you are valuable and worthy of love.

#10 – Balance

The key to a healthy security net is over balance.  You are a juggler, you are indeed juggling all aspects of your life and you have to become an expert!

Look at your hands and use a finger to name each point I have just recommended, then clench your fingers together and form what will look like a net.   As you look at your hands view it with a metaphorical lens, and know that if you were to ever fall you would be caught!   Remember, a mental health condition is manageable no matter how daunting your illness may be.  There have been times when I couldn’t even taste my food and getting out of bed has felt like building a house, but eventually we all come to a place where we will have the energy and empowerment to create our own mental health security net.  When you do, I know you will feel more secure in managing your mental health challenges as you have taken the time to weave your overall wellbeing and your much deserved happiness.

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