Happy Sunday you lovely lot and happy 2019! This is my first blog post of the year and its actually been a whole year since I first started my blog – wow! What a wonderful yet wacky journey the past year has been. Thank you for following and for all of your support and valuable feedback. I appreciate it more than you know.
As usual, I am late in delivering this blog post as I promised to post it a few times since posting the first one but…we all know late is the new early (LOL) so I pray it has arrived in perfect timing for you!
Here are 9 more things I have taken on board whilst managing my mental health naturally over the past year and a half. I currently struggle with the symptoms of Adult ADHD, Anxiety, C-PTSD and Depression and these 9 things, along with the first 9 I posted in my last blog post have made such a huge and positive impact on my mind, the way I feel and function and also how I see myself. I hope they impact you just as positively.
This probably sounds silly to some people because we obviously need to breathe to exist but what I am referring to is deliberate breathing exercises. When I feel overwhelmed or tense, I often find that I am holding my breath or breathing in fast, short breaths. The opposite pattern of breathing is so good for our brains that it can actually calm panic attacks down, so next time you feel yourself becoming anxious, irritated or angry out of nowhere, take some time out to breathe. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, then blow it out of your mouth slowly for another 4 seconds. Repeat this until you calm down and feel better. It works every time.
2. Help others
Not only does helping others who struggle in a similar way to you make you feel great and distract you from some of the things we can avoid to better our mental health (over-thinking, scrolling through social media accounts, worrying), but you learn so much about your condition in the process because raising awareness includes research and also, everyone you interact with will have a different experience to you which broadens your understanding.
3. Fight the urge to overthink
With the ADHD brain, we have a tendency to hyper-focus which can be a great thing if used in a constructive manner but if that energy is being used to worry about things that might happen or to dwell on things that have happened in the past, this can be so very unhealthy. The same goes for the other more common mental health conditions that I struggle with mentioned above, over-thinking seems to come naturally when you struggle with these things but we have to try our best to hold our thoughts captive (easier said than done, I know) and remember that anxiety can sometimes be triggered or brought on by fearful thoughts of the future and depression by regretful, painful thoughts about the past so when you find your thoughts drifting in these directions, please fight the urge to overthink.
4. Schedule transition breaks throughout your day
I find that when I have a productive day, I literally have a come down the next day. Its mad. Breaks seem to help with this a lot. If you have a busy day or you are time boxing effectively to make sure you get stuff done, (click here for my blog post on time boxing if you don’t know what it is) it would be a great idea to avoid burn out by leaving a bit of time between some of your tasks or plans to just gather your thoughts and chill for a bit.
5. Be selective with your circle
This one doesn’t really need much of an explanation. Surround yourself with people who are good for your mental health. Not everyone we love is good for us, its as simple as that. Some people will need to be loved from far when you are putting your mental health first as you will need to be around people who make you feel loved, appreciated, supported, relaxed, able to be yourself, inspired, understood and encouraged. If your circle does not provide these things, you need some time away from these people, even if just for a while.
6. Be open to creating new friendships
Following on from number 5, if your circle do not provide you with the things mentioned, don’t start accusing yourself of being too needy or high maintenance, you are just being realistic in what you need in order to thrive. Its hard to imagine making new friends as an adult or young adult because we are led to believe the best friendships are the ones that have lasted the longest but this is very untrue. This kind of thinking can have you settling for less than you deserve in your relationships so let your guard down a bit when meeting new people. These new friends could be some of the most valuable gifts sent to you.
7. Make great use of alarms
I use alarms and calendar alerts to help me fight the urge to procrastinate and also to help me simply remember the things that are important to me. Some days I make some great personal commitments or have amazing ideas but I’m too busy or just can’t be bothered to act on them straight away so to prevent me brushing them off as ‘rubbish’ on a day where I feel less enthusiastic, I put a reminder in my phone to not only remind me to do the thing in question, but to also remind myself that I thought it was a great idea when I felt good. LOL that sounds so confusing but i’m sure you get me.
8. Set time aside for loved ones
Even if its just phone conversations or sending out a text message, try your hardest to stay connected to your loved ones. One of the things I get most annoyed at myself about is my inability to remember to check in with people I love and value. I’m not talking about those who send you on guilt trips for not being in touch yet don’t check up on you either, but the ones you actually need to stay close with because you love and appreciate them. Not everyone will understand that the ADHD brain is forgetful or that depression makes you isolate yourself or even that with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you can disassociate and almost forget people exist so do be mindful that these important people in your life could end up feeling unloved and rejected by your behaviour. Even if you have to set an alarm to text your 5 closest people every other day, do so. It’s not just for them, its for you too.
9. Join or start a support group
In the same way, try to schedule in Being around and talking to like minded people can be life changing. One of the most liberating things that I have experienced on this journey of learning I have several mental health conditions/issues or whatever word you like to use has been being supported by and understood by other people. The ones who really impacted me were the ones who cared enough to go out of their way to understand more or those who were experiencing similar things themselves. I learnt a lot about myself and my brain through these people and this is why I decided to start some of my own. Facebook is a great place to find groups like these so please look into it. It’s nowhere near as daunting as it sounds. Also, you can click here to find out more about the ones I have already started and will be starting.
I Hope these 9 tips help you as much as they do me. I will be honest, writing this blog post has reminded me of a few things that I hadn’t been practicing as well as I used to so I am actually feeling quite inspired myself. part 3 will be with you this year, I PROMISE LOL