It’s tough to feel depressed or anxious, for example. I would know. Yet it is possible to live well again. My pitch to you is that a coach helps make such a difference. There are many excellent professionals working in the field. My point of difference is I have suffered and navigated my own mental health issues with depression. I appreciate the variety of strategies, both medicinal, nutritional, psychological, relational, physical and non-medicinal that can be required. You may have discovered that systems are not always helpful. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just see one doctor or one professional, get precisely the help we need. Just follow that advice and not have to do anything more than be a faithful follower of others who we are relying on knowing what to do. Mental health however does not always work so simply and can be something of a puzzle to solve. It can require patience, and diligence, and wisdom and resilience at a time when we are naturally passive and inclined to withdraw, hibernate under the covers and avoid (or not know) doing what may be done. Who better than a coach that gets that, and gets you, and who has some clues. You are not alone. You are understood without long explanations. Please call to make a time and let’s discuss what’s possible for your health. It is possible to make Impossible into I’m Possible. What have you got to lose? Time, it’s the most precious thing we have in life. Spend it wonderfully 🙂 Live with meaning and purpose and energy again.
- Stabilize first.
When we are faced with a crisis or problem, our tendency is to either fix it or avoid it. In that moment we forget to breathe or shallow breathe thus lowering oxygen levels in the blood, lowering our ability to problem solve and creating an unnecessary sense of anxiety or emotion that may then escalate. So to stabilize, remember to breathe. Take some time out and breathe consciously.
You may not control your mental health but you can influence, handle and deal with your thoughts and feelings as they happen to get the results you want through planning, execution, and review. In this sense mental health is like having a job or an extra project that you give attention to. So treated as a job, plan, prepare and set aside a time to work on it. It would be nice if we could just take a pill, and everything was fixed, but it doesn’t work like that for everyone.
- Passivity and ignorance
These are not your friend. Information and action are the cure. Disruptions to mental health are disruptions to the rhythm of life which we normally take for granted. Our reliance on someone else to fix us, or our reliance on just try to work it out ourselves, and the passivity and ignorance that we normally end up with make this tricky to navigate. Self-reliance, passivity, ignorance or over reliance on others will always exist. The question is how we handle those to juggle life.
- Measure how you are going
It is important to measure how you are going by drawing up a weekly chart. This helps tracks things like medication, sleep, sleep quality, exercise, nutritional supplements and things that I know make a difference in my well-being plan. The most important benefit of measuring mental health across time is that we can see what things are actually making a difference. If you asked me what I was doing last week, chances are I wouldn’t remember. However measuring helps you track and gives you information and clues around what is helping. It also provides proof when we were talking with doctors. If you don’t have it you can’t use it. Plus a measurement chart acts like a checklist, reminding us the specific things, thoughts and actions that can make a difference. So when we are not going well, we are able to check our chart and review what it is I am or aren’t doing at the moment. There is powerful information in this simple approach. Download my Weekly Measurement and Checklist Sheet to see life at a glance.
- Medication is a Conversation
Medication is a conversation. It would be nice if you could just go to a doctor, take a pill (if you are taking medication) and all would be well. However mental health may not be that simple and may benefit by you taking multiple additional steps to get the best results for you. It is important to measure and know how you are going, talk with your doctor about what is or isn’t working. It may be that increasing or decreasing the medication are options that will improve how you are going. It can be like teamwork between you and your doctor. Together through conversation and trial and error, you perfect what you need. Part of what I do is help people ask the right questions and have the right conversations with their doctor. This increases the efficacy of the treatment and increases their responsibility and ability to get better. It is important that treatment for mental health is proactive and not passive response to crisis. Conversations help to make this a reality. Recovery and well-being are achievable.
- Mood mapping
Mood mapping is useful for being aware of and handling and dealing with our mood. See my video here. People regularly say it makes a lot of sense and is very helpful to them understanding what is happening for them. If you can map your mood it is another tool to help you understand what is happening to you and allows you to put he other tips into action.
Find affordable, accessible, and available therapy. We bulk-bill home visits for concession holders and see people within one week. Even if counselling hasn’t worked out with a particular counsellor in the past, persevere in finding someone right for you. The good news is statistics show you have just as good a chance of finding the right counsellor next time even if the first time was poor. Face what may be stopping you. It’s natural to not want to go to see a counsellor. You can probably think of a number of reasons why. Weigh it up. Allow a minimum of 6 weeks for treatment to achieve maximum results. Our programs typically run for a minimum of 6 weeks, usually with weekly sessions.
Make yourself a priority. When considering time and effort involved in therapy, consider we spend more time servicing our car than we do our own lives. You are worth a bit of ‘you time’ so things can go better.
One of the regular feedbacks I get from people is the value of an independent perspective. Typically they have lots of people telling them what they think, and it is good to have someone totally outside the situation. Getting outside perspective increases your options, feeling understood and narrowing down your focus without feeling pressure, coercion and nagged. It is quite freeing.
Identifying your values helps you to guide your actions. The Bull’s Eye exercise is a quick visual check in, about work/education, leisure, personal growth/health and relationships. What do you want to do with your time on this planet? What sort of person do you want to be? What strengths of qualities do you want to develop. Take 5 minutes to sketch out your present and shoot for your future.
What’s the Next Action? Before you leave these tips, what is the specific next action you need to take. Not ‘make phone calls’ but rather ‘Phone Owen to book an appointment’ or ‘Phone Owen to book a 20 min complimentary call’. The passivity associated with depression and mental health challenges can freeze us from action. We may rather hibernate and pull the covers up over our head. While this may work in the short term, its’ very disabling in the long term from returning to the life you can have.
Review each month and how you are tracking. Observe how you have gone and make adjustments based on that if needed. Remember everyone has good and bad days. Be kind to yourself. You are a work in progress. Better mental health requires a few extra steps to help us along the way.