There are plenty of lifestyle changes that can be made to help with easing the symptoms of mental illness. If you have a deep-set illness, my first suggestion is medication, and then after that, it will be therapy. Once those have been started, then there are changes you can make which will benefit you in the long term.
Now to change your lifestyle shouldn’t cost you much money unless you want to spend on it. Everything I will suggest can be purchased fairly cheaply. Most of them will be based on actions you can take yourself.
Say No to Alcohol
Alcohol does nothing to help anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder; in fact, it can make it worse. Not only will it reduce your inhibitions which is the last thing someone, on a hypomanic phase needs, but it will also depress you in the long run. If you are a regular drinker consuming alcohol will only prolong your symptoms.
I used to self-medicate with alcohol to help me get to sleep, and believe me, when I tell you it ultimately did me no favours, it cast me into a long spell of depression which has taken me years to get over. Admittedly it was not only alcohol to blame, but it did not help.
If you have a problem with alcohol, seek your doctor’s advice or look up Alcoholics Anonymous in your area to help support you through this difficult time. Admitting you have a problem is better than drinking to drown your woes, as your woes will get bigger, and you are likely to act on impulse when intoxicated.
Also, some medications interact badly with alcohol by increasing their sedative effect or some other effect, so please avoid drinking; you will feel much better from it. Of course, if alcohol is not a problem and your tablets allow, then save it for special occasions and only have one glass of wine but no more.
After a while, alcohol tastes horrid, like when you were a child and first took a sneaky sip of your Gran’s port and lemon. I haven’t really had a drink of alcohol for five years, just the occasional one at Christmas, and I do feel better for it.
Houseplants Help You
The humble houseplant helps in a couple of ways by supplying fresh oxygen and keeping you caring for something. They don’t take much to look after, but they do need watering and the occasional feed. But they give so much more than you would expect.
As we know from our science classes, plants breathe out oxygen, and we need oxygen. This makes a natural partnership one in which your breath benefits the plant and the plants benefits you.
They are also a delight to look at and fill you with calm. Greenery and foliage affect people positively. If you are debilitated with anxiety introducing houseplants into your home will help you.
You can also talk to them, and believe me when I say they will appreciate all that air you breathe onto them. In return, you will feel better for venting your thoughts and feelings and of course, they can’t answer back, but being living, they hear your vibrations and can respond in growing better and more vivacious.
Journal Your Thoughts
I can not stress enough how important it is to get those thoughts out of your head, and the quicker and more fervent your write, the easier you will feel.
I have several journals, possibly too many, but one is for thoughts and feelings, another for gratitudes and a couple of others for poetry. I also have one for lists of things and a couple for random writings.
You actually only need a couple, one for feelings and one for saying thank you for what is going right in your life. Waking up in the morning is often the best thing to be thankful for if you cannot think of anything else.
[AF]You can buy journals from Silk and Sonder or use your own stationery supplier. But the importance of writing and clearing your mind is a way to express yourself rather than having those thoughts rolling around in your head.
Vitamins & Minerals
I’m a big advocate of getting your daily dose of Vitamin D; I once went through a bout of depression which was worse than it should be because I was deficient in this vitamin. Lifestyle changes often involve overhauls of your life but introducing vitamins is an easy thing to do; you take them in the morning before breakfast and then forget about them until the next morning.
If you spend a lot of time indoors, you may find you are deficient in vitamins, especially if you have an unbalanced diet too or are vegan. I would suggest you ask your doctor to check your vitamin levels as your mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, could be caused by iron deficiency.
Lacking in vitamins is well know to impact on mental health, get your levels checked to rule it out. If your levels are fine it won’t harm you to introduce an all round vitamin to help you stay in tip top physical health.
Deterioration in physical health can impact the mind, so try to cover as many areas as possible to improve your health overall.
Stop Watching Sad or Horror Films
This includes the news. Try and fill your day with feel-good things, such as comedies and light-hearted series or films. If you are still working, avoid overly negative gossip as it won’t help you.
Removing negative influences leaves room for you to put good vibes into your brain. Looking at videos of cats and puppies increase our endorphins; these are our feel-good hormones. This is why they are so popular online because it does us good.
If you are focused on horror films, these are designed to raise your heart rate and increase fear; they are your worst enemy if you are anxious already and experience depression.
Check out the pictures in your house too. Are they beautiful or strange abstract artwork? The latter is conducive to thought and inspiration but not good for anxiety; the more you try to fathom the piece, the more anxiety can increase. For the time being, until you get your illness under control, replace it with an image of plants or cute things like kittens.
Once you start felling better you can go back to them, but while you are unwell, it is best to avoid negative things.
I hope these suggestions will help you, but in the first instance, please seek advice from your doctor for treatment and therapies.
Peace & Blessings x
[AF] P.S Check out this hot chocolate for sleep