My Top Mental Health Care Tips

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I have been on this mental health journey for over a year and a half.  

I have for the last year and a half been consistently taking care of my mental health and mental illness.  As I have said many times before, maintaining a mental illness is a lifestyle. Once I realized that this was a lifestyle, that is when things started to look up for me.  This illness is a part of my life and maintaining it is a part of my lifestyle.


I have learned so much about myself and my illness on this journey.  

I am still, learning new things everyday and I enjoy the discoveries that I make.  I want to share my top five mental health care tips that I have compiled over the last year and a half.  This is not everything that I have learned but I think this is a good list to use when navigating through the oh so tough journey to mental health recovery.


My Top five (5) Mental Health Care Tips:


  1. Maintaining a Mental Illness is a Lifestyle - I have said it about a thousand times but this is so true.  Maintaining a mental illness is a lifestyle change. There are changes that have to be made in order to maintain good mental health.  Realizing this is a step in the right direction.

  2. Find A Good Mental Health Care Team - Do you have a hairstylist, or barber that you trust your tresses with?  Are you so committed to him or her that you wouldn’t let another lay hands on your hair?  That is how I feel about having a good mental health care team. Your brain an important organ and having a team that specializes in caring for your brain is a must.

  3. Eliminate Negative Influences in Your Life - This may seem like a no-brainer but I have to say it.  All negative influences and relationships should be considered and evaluated.  Mental Illness can be alot to deal with. The emotional changes that occur can take a toll.  Having factors that are not conducive to maintaining a healthy mental lifestyle will make your journey much tougher.

  4. Get Some Rest - Again this one may sound like it is obvious, but we can take our bodies for granted.  Getting the proper amount of rest essential. That not only means going to bed at night for the recommended 8 hours of sleep, this also means to listen to our bodies when we feel tired or exhausted.  

  5. Do Things that Make You Happy - Do you have hobbies that you enjoy?  Have you thought about it? If you have not, it is time to make a list of the things that you do.  Do them, as often as possible.


I could go on for days talking about all of the lessons that I have learned but I am going to stop here.  There is more where that came from. But, if I could offer one piece of advice to go along with this list it would be this: Mental Health Recovery is Possible.


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Everyday Warriors: Stephanie Mitchell Hughes

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There is no secret that I am passionate about talking about mental health.  

My journey started back in 2014 when I was diagnosed. For years I thought that I was the only one in the world who suffered from a mental health disorder.  I had gone through a range of emotions trying to figure out where I “fit in” as I navigated my way through life while dealing with a mental illness. I am always amazed and intrigued when I meet and talk to other strong, brave men and women who are thriving and surviving despite their mental health disorders.

This brings me to the reason of this post.  

I met a woman named Stephanie Mitchell Hughes on Instagram a few months ago. She is amazing!  She is a mother, attorney, speaker, and she also lives with a mental illness.  She is very passionate about helping others and spreading the word about mental health and mental illness.  I want share a podcast from the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) in which the talks about her mental illness and how she was able to find recovery and stability.  

The link to her story is below.

https://soundcloud.com/aba-colap/aba-colap-voices-of-recovery-podcast-series-episode-7-featuring-stephanie-mitchell-hughes

Please take some time to listen to this enlightening, and inspirational account.  

There are so many pearls of wisdom, and I know that you will find her story powerful.   


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5 Intangible acts of self-love











What is self-love?  It is defined by dictionary.com as a regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.  While this is a great definition of what self-love is, what does it really mean to engage in acts of self-love?  Self-love and self-care have become very popular topics as of late and people are becoming very involved in investing time and energy in their own happiness and well-being.  This got me to thinking.  There are many tangible things that you can give to yourself that would fall under the self-love and self-care categories, but what about the intangibles?  The intangibles are just as important when you are trying to keep your mental health in order.  As I have been on my journey to maintain optimal mental wellness, I have compiled a list of 




5 intangible acts of self-love to incorporate into your life.  I have incorporated these things into my own routine and I have noticed a great shift.

1.Forgiveness for my past mistakes, and for those who have wronged me.
2. Non-judgement of my actions and thoughts.
3. Quiet time to just be.  This allows me time with my thoughts and for my spirit to talk to me.
4. Patience with myself and others, and recognizing that things take time.
5.Celebration of even the smallest wins. 

It is important for me to mention that I while I exercise these qualities on the regular basis, they require work and do not come easily.  I find myself in some situations where it comes easier to exercise and a little bit more challenging in others.  Life has gotten better because of my new practices.  I am very grateful that I found a new way of handling myself with love and care.  I am also excited to see what these new-found actions have in store for me.



The role of gratitude during the recovery journey



As a child, I’d always heard adults and wise older people say to “Be thankful for what you have”.  When I was younger, I never really paid much attention to the jewels that the older people would drop on me.  I never took the time to actually think about what those words really meant.  As I got older, I was engulfed in a haze of anxiety and I was caught up in the symptoms that my bipolar disorder was inflicting on my life.  I was never in a mental state to do any heavy thinking.  Or in a place to really ponder the wisdom that the world offered.  I was trying to stay above water and maintain myself from the happenings of everyday life. 

When I made the conscience decision that I wanted to get serious about my recovery and become stable, I began incorporating several mindful, and wellness practices into my routine. As I began on my journey, I did a lot of reading in the self-help genre.  This helped me so much with the way I viewed myself, and the way that other treated me, and how I treated myself.  Many of the books, and articles that I consumed all shared a common thread.  Throughout many of the readings that I had come across, a large percentage of them all spoke on the power of gratitude.  This was not a new concept to me.  Surely, I knew what gratitude was, but I had not been a person that included giving thanks in my daily routine.  I thought about it and decided that I was going to do something new.  The way that I had been doing things for the last 10 + years had not really been working for me and it was time to do something new. 

When I started giving thanks for all that I had on a daily basis, things started to change for me.  It was almost like everything was coming together.  Not in a shallow, materialistic way but in a personal, happy kind of way.  I was beginning to feel better about myself.  This was something that I had not felt in so many years.  Here were just a few benefits that I noticed as a result of incorporating gratitude into my daily routine:

  •          Increased sense of awareness
  •          More compassion, for myself and others
  •          More kindness
  •          Better relationships
  •         Better self-image  
  •         Increased clarity
  •         Sense of calm



While there are several other benefits of incorporating gratitude into your routine, these are the benefits that I have personally noticed.  Practicing gratitude is a great thing and will only enhance your situation.  So, go ahead and give gratitude a try, you will not be disappointed. 

Out List : 2018 Edition

I have never been a person to make new year’s resolutions.  I have known that for as long as I can remember that my chronic procrastination would swoop in and my so-called resolutions would be out of the window, and I would be on to something else within a couple of weeks. 

I often speak about my recovery and the progress that I have made over the last couple pf months.  I am very excited about the positive changes that I have made, and I am equally excited about the continued progression.  I am looking forward to the New Year that is rapidly approaching.  As I look forward towards the new year, I have compiled an “Out” List.  The out list are actions that I will no longer allow myself to participate in or be a part of.  This list is also very much in line with maintain my positive progress for the upcoming year.
2018 Out List 

2018 Out List
Overthinking
Overindulging
Negativity
Procrastination
Self-Doubt
Judgements
Inactivity
Sleep Deprivation
Indecisiveness
Waste
Abuse
Ignoring My Intuition
Fear
Isolation
Complacency
Assumptions

While I am absolutely clear about the behaviors and actions that I no longer feel the need to participate in, I am curious what is on your “out” list?