As someone who lives with mental illness, it can be easy to fall into a deep dark hole when you are struggling with your own demons. I know, because I have been there! When you have chronic depression, it’s hard to know how to get out of that hole and stay positive when the world feels like it’s coming down on you and there seems to be no way out.
1) Keep A Journal
Journaling is a great way for people living with mental illness to express their feelings in a safe, private space. It also helps you focus on your goals and get rid of stress and negative emotions. Keeping a journal may help you feel less alone and avoid situations that trigger negative feelings—but don’t judge yourself if it doesn’t! Some days are hard, but over time, writing down your thoughts will improve your mental health.
2) Express Yourself
It can be so hard for people living with mental illness to find their voice, but doing so is really important. So, it’s important that you listen when someone living with a mental illness wants to talk about how they’re feeling. If you notice that a loved one isn’t themselves and seems down or depressed, try gently encouraging them by saying something like I know you may not want to talk about it, but I care about your wellbeing. How are you doing?
Physical activity helps boost serotonin levels in your brain, which can help you feel happier and more relaxed. If you’re able, taking a walk outside is an easy way to get your heart pumping while enjoying some fresh air. However, if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your home or aren’t able, there are plenty of other exercises you can do indoors—for example, squats or lunges for legs and sit-ups for abs.
4) Write Down What Makes You Happy
If you’re living with depression, it can be difficult to see anything in your life that makes you happy. Whether it’s watching a specific type of movie or playing a particular game, write down what it is that makes you happy and refer back to it regularly. It may sound simplistic, but it’s important to have something in your life that makes you smile—even if your illness tells you that there’s no reason for joy.
5) Face Your Fears
In order to face our fears, we have to first acknowledge them. What are you afraid of? Losing someone’s love? Being alone forever? These things might seem big and difficult but they’re a part of life; by facing your fears, you can learn how to deal with it more gracefully. In short, face what you fear so that fear doesn’t control your life! Remember: no matter how difficult things might seem now, they always pass.