No one can truly help you unless you are willing to help yourself. The first part of that sounds quite daunting, doesn’t it! Not to worry, I’m not saying that no one can help you. There is actually lots of help out there. More than you know for that matter and more is becoming readily available every single day. But what I am saying is that help is pretty useless until you are ready to help yourself as well.
If you are seeking help for your mental health or mental illness then no one is going to be able to straight-up help you without you doing any work. In fact, you are going to have to do the majority of the work yourself.
Why should you help yourself?
In some cases, there is no fix at all. With some mental illnesses, it is all about you learning to manage your condition. As I’m sure you can imagine learning to manage a condition takes time and a lot of hard work. Usually, with these conditions, you have ongoing help and care. The rest of the time you will still need to help yourself. Life doesn’t stop when no one else is around.
As with the majority of mental illness, there is also no quick fix. Likewise, there is no miracle cure. Some mental health illnesses are treatable but hard work and helping yourself is 100% necessary. A combination of medication and therapy is the most common help. Medication won’t cure your problems. It will only ease your symptoms for a while. Therapy will give you some amazing tools and techniques. It will also help you understand more about the difficulties you are facing. You will then need to implement those tools and techniques into your life to get the benefits from them. That is down to you. No one else can do it for you.
There are times when medication and therapy aren’t necessary. Your mental health is on a downward trajectory. You have picked up some bad habits as anyone would. Now you are inadvertently actively making your mental health worse. We’ve all been there. Some more than others. It doesn’t mean you are stuck and need to stay on this path you have created for yourself. What you can do, is start to help yourself.
5 things you can you do to help yourself right now
Firstly, educating yourself is possibly the most important thing you can do. Also one of the easiest things to do. Struggling with your mental health or mental illness can be terrifying even at the best of times. Educating yourself will make you feel slightly less isolated. You will realise you are not alone during this tough time in your life. What you are going through is completely normal and actually fairly common.
1 in 4 of us will face a mental illness in our lifetime. Everyone also has mental health and like physical health, some of us do not take care of it. It is equally important to educate yourself on how to take care of your mental health. Failing to take care of your mental health can lead to an increased likelihood of developing serious mental health problems. It is never to early to take action and for that matter, it is also never too late either.
There are a vast amount of resources available on the internet for free at places like https://www.nhs.uk/, mind.org.uk, https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/, https://www.rethink.org/, https://youngminds.org.uk/, https://mentalhealth-uk.org/.
Try some self-help tips
Self-help is the best way to help yourself. It involves you helping you and that is it. Taking time out of your day to focus on yourself is a strange concept to most people. As we get older our lives get so busy we neglect to look after ourselves. Responsibility for others overshadows our responsibility for ourselves.
Engaging in self-help can be as simple as carving out 5 or 10 minutes of your day to start off with. You will start to notice the positive impact that short amount of time will have. Then when you are ready to carve out more time do so until you find a healthy balance.
There will be those of you who will make out you can’t even find 5 minutes in your day to help yourself. That’s fine. Start to think about your priorities. How important is your mental health to you? Are there things in your life you can say no to. Are there things you shouldn’t be doing which could allow you to free up some time.
You don’t need to go out and make drastic changes straight away and engage in every self-help tool you can find. As long as you are working towards a goal and taking small steps every day you are on the right track.
Change your lifestyle
We usually don’t realise how bad our current lifestyles are. We also don’t realise how important our lifestyles are to our mental health. Everything we do has an impact on our mental health. From the amount of sleep we get. To what food we consume. To the amount of exercise we undertake. Even the people we surround ourselves with.
A good place to start is with the things we do every single day. Making sure you go to bed at a similar time every night and wake up at the same time. At least eat 3 meals a day and if you can try to eat a balanced diet. Perform some form of exercise every day. Whether that’s a short walk, yoga at home, going to the gym or attending a sports class.
These 3 things are the fundamentals to achieving better mental health. Make better choices when it comes to these 3 things and you will no doubt see an improvement in your mental health.
Make the change you know you need to make
You know your life better than anyone. Deep down you know exactly what you need. Sometimes it takes some time looking at yourself in the mirror to figure it out. Sometimes it is staring you right in the face screaming for you to reach out and grab it. Often you stay doing what is familiar. You stay in the environment you are most comfortable because it is what you know best. But what you know best isn’t always what is best for you.
The place you are right now, the job you are employed at, the relationship you are in, the area you live in. the people you live with. the team you are apart of and whatever else it is in your life may no longer be serving you. In fact, it could actually be detrimental to your mental health. Only you know how it impacts you.
Some of those things are huge parts of your life. They seem far too drastic to change. Sometimes incomprehensible to imagine a life where you would change them. But what if that change could be the key to fixing your problems. You don’t have to rush into that decision if you don’t want to. Explore the possibility. Make a plan of action. And then when you are a bit more comfortable, go for it. Of course, you can always rush into and hope for the best if you know ultimately it is the thing you need to do.
Reach out for help and support
This is usually the last thing most people do. To most people, it is a sign of defeat. That they couldn’t do it themselves and they have had to reside to asking other people for help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. Some of us have problems which have become too big to manage alone. Others may always need additional help.
Asking for help is a brave thing in today’s society. With so much stigma it is no wonder so many people suffer alone and don’t seek help. In my opinion, that is a sorry state of affairs and I can only encourage you to go and seek help in whichever capacity you need it.
Some simple support could be enough. Reach out to your friends and family. If you need something from them ask. Or see if they will just be an ear to listen to what you need to get off of your chest. If you can’t or don’t want to go to friends and family reach out to support groups or online communities. There are many wonderful and amazing people who are and have been where you are right now who will be happy to help and support you.
With all that said, don’t get discouraged. Having good mental health is a life long challenge you have to work at every single day. The hardest part is starting. It only gets easier from there. There will be times when you struggle. At that point, you have to make sure you stick at it. There will be also times when you fail. You will resort back to your old ways. The ways you know best. You will then have to start over. And there is nothing wrong with that.