March 27, 2020
Now that you have found your mental health through your hard work in treatment and beyond, you are going to want to guard your mental health like a dragon would guard its treasure. Because your mental health is so crucial to every aspect of your life, including your physical health, your relationships with others, your ability to perform well at work or school, and your overall happiness, you will want to do everything possible to keep what you have found.
You know the basics that will keep you healthy:
• Follow your doctor’s medical treatment, including any medication
• Get a good night’s sleep
• Eat healthily
• Exercise regularly
• Follow your self-care routines
• Keep any therapy or other follow-up visits
By following these basic daily or regular routines and turning them into good habits, you are like the guards at a castle, making your rounds and keeping on the lookout for any signs of depression, anxiety, or substance use. You stand tall against the things that might trigger you. You are fiercely vigilant in doing the things that will keep you safe.
There are more things you can do to kind of “level up” in safeguarding your mental health. These include:
• Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga
• Practice controlling your emotions
• Participate in groups or meetings for mental health
• Attend therapy with your family
Doing these things and more are extra precautions against a relapse. As you fortify your mental health, you also lower your chances of depression or anxiety creeping back in or taking over. Your commitment and dedication to staying healthy will pay off as you learn to do the things to beat the odds and keep yourself safe.
Sometimes things happen that are out of your control, such as losing someone in your life, or perhaps a divorce in your family, or experiencing other very stressful life events. Other times, you just get busy and forget to do the things you know will keep you safe. When these things happen, you need to be on high alert.
Check-in with yourself every day. Ask yourself how much sleep you got. Did you sleep too little? Or too much? Are you overly tired? How is your mood? Did you eat too little? Or perhaps too much? What symptoms do you have of depression or anxiety? Are you feeling cravings or experiencing triggers that make you want to use substances? It is normal when you go through stressful life events for you not to be able to answer all of these questions the way you would like to. However, it is more important that you know the answers and can take action to change them.
When to Intervene
Knowing when to take action to prevent an actual relapse is half the battle. If you have been having symptoms for more than a week, maybe you get an extra appointment to talk to your therapist or life coach and let them help you weigh out your risks. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk about it with someone else helps you to assess the situation more realistically.
If symptoms have persisted for more than two weeks and are getting worse, then going to your doctor is a good idea. Perhaps there is an adjustment in treatment that you can make that will help to lower your symptoms and get you back to mental health.
When your symptoms are low risk but persistent over a month, and especially if you are struggling to reinstate your regular good habits, it might be time to consider a refresher in outpatient treatment to help you re-build those habits.
However, if your symptoms are markedly worse or you feel like you are rapidly deteriorating and cannot get control of your behaviors and emotions, then do not hesitate to check in to a hospital. Your health and safety are the most important thing, and sometimes just outside stressors alone can cause a sudden chemical imbalance that is difficult to manage with your everyday routines alone. Likewise, if you have a relapse with substances, you know you need to get help so that you can return to sobriety and wellness.
Winning the Battle
Most of the time, if you are fiercely vigilant of your daily routines and self-care, then you will be victorious in your mental health, one day at a time. Sometimes, you may need to ask for more help than usual, and that is okay. It is your daily commitment to your health, as well as re-committing every morning, that will help you win the battle. Mental health is not just one big, bloody battle where the winner takes all. Mental health is a series of daily battles, of guarding your castle and protecting your mind like a treasure. It is the little things you do that will make all the difference in the world.
This is a battle that you can win. You don’t have to be a skilled warrior, there is no minimum physical requirement, and you don’t need to wear actual armor to win this one. Instead, this battle is won from within. Your desire to stay healthy will keep you doing all of the little things each day to keep you safe and well. When you guard your mental health like a precious treasure, you will win the battle each and every day.
Nothing is more important than keeping your mental health. Call Potomac Programs 1-855-809-0409 if you need a refresher. Protect the treasure that is your happiness and safety.