This month Ireland is talking about mental health. The Green Ribbon campaign bottom line is “changing minds about mental health – one conversation at a time”. This is all based on the idea that talking about mental health issues freely is the best way to prevent, heal and stop the stigma attached to them.
Too happy to add my two cents to the conversation, I want to tell you what works for me. I have depression so this is what I will focus on here. When one is lost in depression it is common to forget about the good things, what you like, who you love, why life is worth living. Something that can be really comforting is to hear about positive stories: how others recovered and can enjoy their life again.
On my path to recovery I have learnt a thing or two about me and I am now able to make sure I get as much as possible of the good things. I made a list of them so I remember what to do whenever I feel a bit low. Here it goes (in no particular order):
- Looking at nice things in lovely colours – it may sound a bit materialistic but it makes a big difference when your environment generates nice thoughts. Colours are particularly important for me and a lovely or bold combination can make my heart beat a little bit faster.
- People: a funny day with my family, chatting to the cashier at he shop, meeting friends for some food or drink AND a lot of chat/gossip. Anything that connects me to people because I love people.
- Listening to music I love – I mean really listening not having some tune playing as a background noise.
- Sleeping – getting to bed early and sleeping for as long as possible. Two or three late nights and I start to feel all gloomy.
- Exercising – now this is the S&M part of me I guess as I really enjoy my gym class when it gets tough, it is as if my body was laughing out loud. Crazy, I know.
- Looking at trees – especially in summer when there is a light breeze playing with the leaves, as it is also nice to listen to.
- Smelling lavender, jasmin, coriander, lemon grass, verbena.
- Crafting – Knitting, drawing, sewing, painting, etc. are all important part of my mental health. I can go dry as an old daisy if I don’t make something every day. More about this next week.
This is all part of the work to get to know who we are. It is different for every one, some have some funny habits (remember my S&M gym sessions?) but as long as it works for them, this is good enough. Next week I’ll tell you in more details what crafts in particular help me feel better. In the meanwhile I would love to hear about what works for you, especially if it is a bit funky or weird!