I’m always on the hunt for tools for improving mental health related issues.
When you’re struggling with your emotions, it really affects all areas of your life, doesn’t it?
“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close
My biggest goals of this blog are to create all of those things. More sunlight. I want to show others that there is a light in the darkness. And sometimes it is cloudy a good long while before the sun comes out.
More candor. This shit is hard. Unimaginably hard. I respect the hell out of people who say, “But hey, my mental illness is a great thing because XYZ.” Kudos. You obviously read my post about negative thinking. But for me? That is one negative thought I can live with: mental illness is awful. I want to be open and honest about my own journey to help inspire others.
More unashamed conversation. That is probably my biggest goal. I want my posts to get people talking. This is a dialogue we so desperately need to start. Suicide is on the rise, and we need to talk.
It’s been a while since I’ve offered a list of tools, so scroll through this list of must have mental health resources and find some inspiration. There is help out there, and there is something for everyone.
This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. See my Privacy and Affiliate Disclaimer pages for more info.
Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
Mental health resources
What is your favorite “feel better quick” thing? If you had a big old box filled with things that helped you feel better in times of crisis, what would you put in it?
I am going to include my favorites on this list. The choices will range from traditional to flat out crunchy. (Hey, I dig homeopathy where it’s relevant.) So, grab a notepad and favorite glitter pen and let’s get to it!
Feeling better physically
A huge part of recovering from mental health issues is getting yourself feeling better physically. I want to make two things clear before I make any recommendations.
- First, none of these things are going to cure your mental health condition. In today’s world, there is no known cure for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or any other condition. However, there are things we can do to manage our symptoms.
- Second, I’m not a doctor. I’m simply sharing things that have helped me or people I know. Maybe they’ll help you, maybe they won’t. You won’t know until you try. For any supplement recommendations, ask your doctor to make sure it won’t interact with your medication.
That being said, being sick emotionally can make you feel sick physically too! We’ve all experienced that to some degree.
Maybe you get super fatigued. Or chronic stomach aches. Or dizziness. Maybe headaches.
Whatever the case, getting yourself feeling better physically can greatly improve your mental state.
25 things to try to fight the physical yucks
Fitness is a massive help when it comes to all sorts of chronic health issues. I love using these when I work out. Aren’t the cords of normal ear buds annoying? First world problem, I guess. But I really love these cordless earbuds.
I am all about the practical when it comes to exercise. I’m not trying to look cute. Usually, I look like a hot mess. But I want products that make my life easier when I’m working out. I love these leggings because they have pockets. It resolves the age old conundrum of where to set your phone while you’re doing bicep curls.
I read somewhere that using a mini trampoline for even 10-15 minutes a day can help with fatigue. Plus, it just looks fun! Stick it in front of your TV and try it for 1-2 minutes during commercials or ads, or when your favorite character says a certain thing. Every time Jaskier sings “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher,” for instance.
Let’s face it. Most of us need to drink more water. It has so many good benefits for you- improved energy, digestion, and skin to name a few. So help yourself stay hydrated with a water bottle. They’re better for the environment than single use ones, and you can find one with reminders on the side.
I love these hand weights because they can be used on a rough day while sitting on the couch, and you still feel like you’re really kicking ass at fitness. You can pick whatever weight suits your ability. Do 3 sets of 10 bicep curls and shoulder presses while relaxing to get started.
A few of my symptoms have improved since having my blood work done. I was able to determine that I needed extra support in a couple of key areas: Vitamin D levels and Iron. Rather than falling asleep around 6 or 630pm, I’m now able to stay up til around 9pm or so. Now, I cannot diagnose you as having one of these deficiencies. But if you have a lot of persistent physical symptoms, it doesn’t hurt to check with your doctor.
A couple of helpful tips:
- With iron, my doctor told me to take it with Vitamin C tablets because that helps with absorption. So there ya go, in case your doctor recommends iron and forgets to mention that. Definitely ask about Vitamin C!
- I have also found relief when I take Vitamin B and Magnesium, so make sure to ask about those, too.
Yucky tumtums can be so common in those with depression and anxiety. If that’s the case for you, ginger tablets can be really helpful. They’re pretty gentle medically speaking, and a lot of people find them effective.
When you are constantly getting physically sick, it can be hard to maintain a happy mindset. So, it helps to be proactive with your immune system. These elderberry gummies are a staple in our household!
Adding lemon to your water can not only make it more palatable, but can also help with energy and stomachaches. My husband loves these True Lemon packets in his water bottle each day.
One of my favorite tools for when I’m feeling crappy is taking a hot bath. I add epsom salts because they are so good for sore muscles, bubble bath because the smell makes me feel good, and I use some kind of scrub to make me feel pampered.
Sleep issues are also very common when you have a mental health issue. Sometimes, you have trouble falling asleep. Sometimes, you find yourself needing to adjust your sleep schedule because you’re sleeping at weird times. I take these melatonin gummies every night, and I definitely get a deeper sleep. Many people also find comfort in weighted blankets, or just generally plush comfy ones.
I definitely recommend looking into an online support group. Since symptoms of chronic illness make it difficult to be up and mobile sometimes, it is a great idea to look into resources that are available right on your phone or computer! I myself am an admin of a mood support group for true crime fans, and I am also a member of a number of parenting and mental health groups. Even if you just want to lurk and read the advice given to others, you can get a lot out of them.
Some people are not a fan of the taste of green tea. (Guilty as charged!) But it really does have a lot of benefits, and many people swear by it.
Yep, I said it. You need to eat healthy foods. It can be super hard when you are really depressed and just want to curl up with a package of Oreos. But at the end of the day, that is only going to provide short term relief, and can lead to more long term problems.
I’ve read a lot about the DASH diet for mental health. Yes, it has the word diet in it, but it’s not all about weight loss. There are certain foods that can stimulate better emotional health, and that is definitely worth looking in to.
I would recommend going to get a massage at your local spa. It is usually easy to find one that suits your preferences and comfort level. But if leaving the house is not an option, you can order a portable massage tool that can provide a lot of relief from the aches and pains that come with depression. If you are able to leave the house, I would also recommend looking into an acupuncture session. It can have a lot of benefits, especially for pain.
Feeling better emotionally
The most prominent aspect of mental health conditions are the emotional side effects. You often feel unmotivated, sad, worthless, hopeless, angry, and so many other things. Luckily there are a lot of tools and resources available for your emotional health, and you mostly don’t even need to leave the house!
25 things to make your brain happy
I have been seeing a rise in popularity of Himalayan salt lamps for anxiety. I even got my husband one for Christmas for his office to help with work stress. Not only are they pretty, and portable, but they can help create a calm environment when you’re having a hard time.
Lavender essential oil is something I have been using in varying degrees for a few years. Lavender has been proven to have benefits for those with anxiety and sleep issues. I like adding some to epsom salts for a relaxing bath.
Journaling also has a lot of amazing benefits. It can help clear your mind and organize your thoughts among other things. Not sure what to write about? Start with waking up and writing down something you are grateful for, and one thing you plan to accomplish that day.
Reading is also massively beneficial for mental health. You could read something non-fictional (“self-helpy”), or escape in an amazing fictional universe. Pictured above are two of my all-time favorites that I always recommend, The Four Agreements and The Night Circus.
Let’s face it. Taking your meds is essential for mental health. If you forget it can often lead to a couple days of feeling really poorly. Leave this pill holder by your bedside, right next to where you plug your phone in. That way you see it when you wake up and remember.
A great number you can call is 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727). This number will connect you to a live person, and is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 8 PM EST. It will point you toward resources based on your situation and location.
NIMH, or the National Institute of Mental Health, has an excellent website that will connect you to numerous mental health services. You can look up information about specific conditions, or find treatment resources.
Mental Health America is another great online resource. You can search for mental health services in your area. You can also find ways to volunteer, and take a mental health screening.
There are a lot of great online support groups you can take advantage of. A website I found recently is HealthfulChat and it gives you a wide variety of chat rooms for those with mental illness. I am also an admin of a Facebook group for those living with mental health issues who are also fans of the true crime podcast My Favorite Murder.
I also wanted to provide one more number you can call. This number is geared toward those having suicidal thoughts. If you are in crisis, call: 1-800-273-8255.
I would also recommend keeping two notes handy. First, a list of friends you can call or text in a crisis that will be sympathetic. Do not contact people who are toxic when you are trying to recover from a mental health episode. Friends who are overly negative, not supportive, toxically positive, and abuse controlled substances would not be helpful in this situation,
The second note should be your therapist’s number. Do not hesitate to call them if you need extra support. If they won’t help, get a new therapist.
There are a lot of great ways you can keep your brain distracted from negative feelings, thoughts, or memories. That does not mean ignore them. They might be something that needs dealing with. But in the mean time, try a crossword puzzle book, drawing notebook and colored pencils, puzzle, or a fidget toy.
There are also a number of ways you can distract yourself online, and cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day. Like I said, this is not replacement for actually dealing with the feelings and/or situation. But it is helpful in a pinch! My favorites are a good Netflix binge, watching funny videos on Youtube, or listening to music.
Affirmations cards are awesome for anyone struggling with negative thinking or low self esteem, both very common results of emotional distress. You can even buy post-its, and write them yourself! Write out phrases that inspire you and post them in a spot that you are likely to see easily.
If you’re physically able, try diving into a home improvement project. Room need painting? Old chair need finishing? This would be a great way to keep your mind and body busy, and less focused on your mental health issues.
You could also compile a photo album of pictures that make you smile. Either yours or someone else’s. Have them printed at a photo center and add them to a picture album. Flip through it and let it elicit smiles and laughter.
One final thing you can try to improve your emotional health is to unplug. Spend less time on social media and mindlessly scrolling through people’s updates. I do this at night (or, I should say, I stopped doing it) and it has really helped my anxiety.
10 inspirational quotes to tape to your wall
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill)
“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” (Demi Lovato)
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” (Albert Einstein)
“Limit your ‘always’ and your ‘nevers.'” (Amy Poehler)
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” (Helen Keller)
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive.” (Maya Angelou)
Quotes from my favorite books
“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” (Love in the Time of Cholera)
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” (Jane Eyre)
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
“You’re in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that’s enough.” (The Night Circus)
Snag your Mental Health & Wellness pack
I offer a mental health resources kit for all my subscribers! It’s affordable (only a few dollars) and easy to download. If you are new to my blog, click the form at the bottom of the post to subscribe, and you will get sent a link. Subscribed before I began offering this and want in? Email me on my contact page and I will hook you up!
Pick the mental health resources that speak to you
Many of these tools could work for you, but the reality is that recovery is highly individual. What works for one person might not work for someone else. And that is okay. Every one is different.
Things will not work if you do not put the effort forth. I know it’s hard, but I absolutely believe that you can do it.
What has worked for you in the past? I would love to hear about it in the comments below. And don’t forget to share the post if you found it helpful!