This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
While every week at our residential centres is a mental health awareness week in many ways, this week the managers at our residential centres asked current and ex-residents what they did for their mental health and how it fitted in to their recovery.
This is what some of them said:
- Being around people is really good for my mental wellbeing. As a gambler I always isolated myself
- I make time for myself
- Exercising, I have now started to do regular exercise
- Walking, even just going to do the food shopping
- Listening to music is my way of relaxing
- Interaction and connecting with other people, something I didn’t do as a gambler
- Doing a jigsaw for the first time
- Routine – this is something that I really didn’t have but now have and have found I am sleeping much better.
I try to do five things:
1) Keep a balance.
2) I talk as much as I can, (especially to Carol)
3) Exercise – with long walks and swim twice a week at the gym.
4) Try something new. For example, I am currently halfway through a mentoring course at college. And
5) Try to sleep at least seven hours a night.
Hi Dave, please see below my approach to maintaining a healthy mental state and some of the things that work for me.
▪︎ I take five to ten minutes every day and sit somewhere quiet, feet firmly on the ground, eyes closed, and think about everything I’m grateful for in my life, my kids, partner, family, friends, my job, home, health, my recovery, etc
▪︎ I practice CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy. I try to let go of negative thoughts as they arise, and think of things that are positive and good in my life. I find that negative thoughts can lead to negative emotions, so the sooner I let them go, the less likely they are to affect me.
▪︎ I try and stay in the present as much as possible. I don’t reflect too much on the past, and I try not to get too far ahead of myself by looking and planning too far ahead. This helps me to manage my expectations and avoid disappointment.
▪︎ I try to get a decent night’s sleep every night, by going to bed at a sensible time (10pm weekdays and slightly later at the weekends). I also appreciate that eating healthy and exercising regularly are both good for mental wellbeing, however, these are undoubtedly two areas I still need to focus and improve on.
▪︎ I communicate with people around me, family, friends, work colleagues, ex residents. Communication is an excellent way to talk about how I’m feeling, and avoid bottling things up, particularly if I’m worried or anxious about anything.
▪︎ I try and relax and destress at the end of the day, take some time out for myself, watch TV, read a book, or listen to music.
In response to your message yesterday I do a couple of things to help with my mental health .
Having a routine and planning my day helps, having a structure keeps my mind occupied. The things I learned with Gordon Moody such as a bit of meditation also help, and eating right and getting a bit of exercise as well.
The most important thing, though, is communication.
I speak to like-minded people on a daily basis, which keeps me in contact with the world outside and stops any thoughts of being isolated.
These things certainly work for me.