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Caring for Your Mental Health

Caring for your mental health is hard at times. Gather all the information you can, to review when life is difficult. Here are tips to add to your notepad.

Mental health awareness is a way that we can reduce the stigma of people being diagnosed and living with mental illness. Learn more about mental illnesses and the impact on people's lives to help you become a better mental health ally.

Creating a simple morning routine can start your day in a positive way. Making your bed, showering and putting on clean clothes are some helpful things you can do to get your day started on a better note, plus help you feel accomplished and more ready to tackle the day.

There's a lot of info about mental illness and mental health, but it's important to make sure you're getting it from a reliable source. A lot of info can be biased and stigmatizing — be an ally by sharing only accurate and compassionate sources like @CMHA_NTL @MHCC_ @CAMHnews

Do you feel like your health care provider isn't giving you the help you need, or isn't a great fit? Finding the right support can take time, keep advocating for your needs and don't give up. Think of it like dating, you don't quit just because the first few people aren't a fit!

If you work, does your workplace have policies in place about how you can care for your mental health? Inquire about taking a "mental health day" like you would a "sick day", but for your mind. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health!

Having healthy relationships is sometimes difficult when you are working on yourself. Take one day at a time and keep your communication clear so that your boundaries are clear too. It's okay to take time away from people to focus on YOU!

You don't need to pretend like everything is always okay if it's not. You deserve support, and you won't receive what you need if you don't let people know how you're really feeling.

Do you have too much stuff in your home and find it difficult to keep it clean? It's easy to accumulate things, but if it's adding to your stress you may want to start a to-do list of small things to tackle that will help make your space feel less stressful.

Feeling stuck in anger and frustration can leave you stressed and exhausted. Pause what you're doing to acknowledge your feelings, and then try to break down what the issues are by writing out all the thoughts that are tied to these current emotions.

Have you been diagnosed with a mental illness? You are not alone and there is hope! Many who are diagnosed find ways to manage and even recover. Check out our illness pages to learn about your specific diagnosis, myths, facts and tips on how to manage.

Taking care of our physical health is something that's widely promoted in our daily lives, but do we have enough coonversations about being mentally well? Help start more conversations by using social media to share how YOU take care of your mental health.

Sometimes the people around us impact our mood and mental health. If it's safe to do so, it might be worth having a conversation about how you're feeling - otherwise, they can't change what they aren't aware of. Focus on "I" statements and avoid blaming statements.

What coping skills do you default to when you're not feeling ok? Checking in with how you cope and its impact on your overall health gives you a chance to make adjustments. Try to write down a list of healthy coping skills that you can access when you need them.

"Simple" things can help you in a moment of panic or frustration, and can provide your nervous system the chance to slow down - which will then help slow down your thoughts! Go for a walk, colour a mandela, draw something, or write it all out and crumple it up!

Mental health can ebb and flow from feeling okay to feeling like life is out of control. It's a learning process to find out what works for you in regards to medication, therapy or self help. Don't put pressure on yourself to rush into feeling "normal". It takes time.

Often, those with poor mental health may also have low self esteem. Part of building our self-esteem means working to see our own strengths and positive qualities - we all have them! Try this worksheet, from Therapist Aid, to help you think about yours.

Breathing exercises can be a great mental health tool. Try deep belly breathing: put 1 hand on your belly and 1 on your chest, take a deep breath in your nose and feel your belly push the lower hand out while the hand on your chest stays still. Slowly exhale from your mouth.

Do you struggle to name the emotions that you're experiencing? Create your own feelings wheel! It's a simple, yet creative way to help you identify your different emotions. Choose colours that YOU feel represent each emotion.

So you've tried it all: yoga, mindfulness, journaling, you name it, and you're still struggling. Coping strategies can sometimes only take you so far — maybe it's time to reach out to a crisis line or mental health professional. You aren't always meant to fight this alone!

Avoiding messages and calls from friends/family because you're struggling? It's okay to need space, but try not to isolate either. Start by choosing one trusted person to reach out to and try to let them know what's been going on. Or, try a helpline if that's easier!

Being outside in the fresh air and sunlight can help elevate your mood. If you can, pause what you're doing and get outside for 30 minutes! If you have yard work, that might be a great task to make the time go by and it's double the accomplishment!

Acts of kindness are great for the person on the receiving end, but also give you a positive boost too! Showing someone you care about them can make them feel good and that is awesome in itself. There are a lot of ideas online if you need some inspiration.

Knowledge really can be power. Add to your toolbox by learning more about mental health and how to take care of yours; you could attend a webinar, listen to a TEDtalk or podcast, read a book or memoir, or even talk with someone who is well-versed on the subject!

Taking even 5 minutes a day to write out some of your thoughts and feelings can make a big difference. It's a helpful way to process some of what's going on, lessens the weight on your mind, gives you a safe space to practice expressing yourself, and so much more.

The recovery journey can be ongoing, so it's important to have a good support system along the way. Write out a list of safe and supportive people that you can talk to when times are tough, keep it somewhere you'll see it so that you can be reminded you're never alone.

Create a self care box or basket that you can turn to for comfort and inspiration. Some ideas: worry stones, candles, essential oils, lotion, fidget toys, Play-Doh, tea, gum or mints, tissues, inspiring quotes, and a list of coping strategies or feel-good activities!

Make "you" time a priority. Schedule time to do something for no other reason than that it makes you feel good! Watch a funny movie, dance to your favourite songs, go for a walk, have a bath, eat your favourite food, do a relaxation exercise, or something else entirely!

Sometimes saying "yes" to ourselves means saying "no" to others. If you notice that you've been taking on too much, remind yourself that in order to look after YOU and your needs, it's crucial to assert yourself and not just say yes to every request that comes your way!

Write a thank-you note to let someone know you appreciate them — maybe even write one to your past or present self (to recognize your own resilience, strengths, or even vulnerabilities)! Written expressions of gratitude can be a powerful tool for our mental health.

Taking care of your mental health is one of the best things you can do for your quality of life. It takes time to figure out how to manage the stressors in life and things will be always changing. If you need help, find your local CMHA or call 1-833-456-4566.