I have co-morbid “dis-orders” – I’ve experienced ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Sleep Disorders, Bipolar, and Psychosis. All of which are temporary and can change on a daily basis, but can be traumatic in the moment. I believe that “labels” do not need to define who we truly are, but knowing the root of the cause can be conducive for treatment and healing. Recovery requires a lot of self work, support, self love, and consistency. I am sharing the following tools with you because these techniques continue to help me cope and live a happy and meaningful life. If they help me, I truly believe many of these tips will help you too!
I had a lot to share so this list is extensive! Focus on the bolded items and hyperlinked text for more info ?
Suicide Prevention Hotlines (Across Canada) ←Click for numbers
International Suicide Hotlines
LA Warm Line 1-855-952-9276 (Sun to Sat, 10PM to 6AM PST)
Teenline (U.S) Hotline: 310-855-4673 TEXT TEEN to 839863
Crisis Text Line (US) Text HOME to 741741
Trevor Project LGBT Hotlines 1-866-488-7386
Text Trevor LGBT 1-202-304-1200 (Mon to Fri, 3PM to 10PM EST)
- Make your mental health a top priority and treat yourself with kindness, love, and patience. Read Live Your Life Well for 10 tools proven to help you feel stronger & more hopeful. Click here for Well-Being Resources.
- Tell your doctor & find a therapist you connect with. Search for a therapist near you:
- Tell a friend or family member that you trust and can confide in. It’s important to have a support system and to spend time with people that lift your spirit.
- Find a Support Group near you:
- Exercise! Exercising is known to help ease anxiety, depression, ADHD, insomnia, PTSD, and more. It produces endorphins, which are powerful chemicals in your brain that make you feel good.
- Eat a healthy diet. The foods you eat have a direct effect on your mental health. Limit sugar intake and eat foods that are known to benefit your mental health, such as: whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils, fatty fish, lean protein, citrus fruits, blueberries, cherry juice, avocados, leafy greens, beets, broccoli, yogurt with active cultures, extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, dark chocolate. 1 Brazil Nut a day decreases anxiety & depression
Read More: Your Brain on Food by Harvard
- Supplement your diet with vitamins that aid mental health and wellness:
- Try Rescue Remedy for Panic or Anxiety. It’s all natural and I’ve used it for years to calm my nerves. It works for me after 15-20 minutes of taking it.
- Increase your happiness! The Art of Living has a fantastic Happiness Program. They incorporate breathing exercises, meditation, and philosophies to help increase overall happiness and find joy in your life. I took the program & highly recommend it. Find a local Art of Living Centre, Find a Happiness Course near you.
- Use Shawn Achor’s 6 Tips for Happiness. These really helped when I was at my lowest.
- Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you’re grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. Ex. a really good cup of coffee or the warmth of a sunny day.
- The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint.
- The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant.
- Every day take 2 minutes to stop whatever you’re doing and concentrate on breathing. Even a short mindful break can result in a calmer, happier you.
- Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good.
- Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends. Our connections are one of the best predictors for success and health, and even life expectancy.
- Find a creative outlet. Channel stress into something positive and meaningful to you. Writing lyrics & singing really helps me turn my pain into something artful. Find something you enjoy! (Dancing, art, cooking, music, skating, photography, etc.)
- Sleep 7-8 hours. I’ve been dealing with insomnia & sleep paralysis for years. Sleep hygiene has helped me manage it. See my Sleep Hygiene Tips at the bottom of this page. Read more on Sleep & Mental Health.
- There are many guided meditations on YouTube & Podcasts.
- Do Yoga. Yoga is great for your body and mind. It’s known to improve mental health, including disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, and schizophrenia.
- Do Breathing Exercises. We breathe automatically, but it’s amazing what you can do to calm your body and mind with breathing techniques.
- Take time away from technology. Reducing screen time helps keep you stay in the present moment, it reduces stress & anxiety, and aids sleep.
- Spending time in nature benefits our physical and mental health. Go for a walk or hike without your phone or music and listen to the birds.
- Self Reflect & Journal. Do regular check ins with yourself & write in a journal. Writing is a great way to navigate through challenges & have an internal dialogue with yourself.
- Create and practice self affirmations and do mirror work.
- Here’s a List of Self Affirmations I put together including tips on how to make your own!
- Louise Haye’s mirror work helped me develop more love & compassion for myself. I do self affirmations in the mirror every morning to help reduce my anxiety and boost my self esteem.
- Connect with your Inner child. Inner child work is an important part of soulwork.
- Try a DBT technique called Opposite Action. An example would be pushing yourself to go to the gym when you actually feel like staying on the couch.
- Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – a practical approach that aims to change patterns of thinking and behavior that are underlying people’s difficulties.
- Unwind. These are a few things I do to decompress:
- Take a bath with the lights dim or your favourite book. Add Epsom salts to relax your body (lavender, eucalyptus, or peppermint).
- Get a massage or do self massage at home. I highly recommend the acuball for self massage. It is incredible!
- Light a candle (My favourite is Stress Relief by Bath & Body Works).
- Listen to meditation music, nature sounds, chakra balancing music.
- Get in sweatpants & read an inspiring book. My top picks are:
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
- Freedom by Osho; Emotional Wellness by Osho
- Bradshaw On: The Family by John Bradshaw
- Try a sensory deprivation tank. It’s benefits include relief from insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD and even addiction.
- Try Light Therapy. Blue light helps reduce depression some experience during Winter months (SAD). I used a blue light (Philips GoLITE BLU) at home in the morning for 30 to 45 minutes when I was going through depression and it worked well for me.
- Try Reiki. It’s known to reduce anxiety & physical pain. I recommend Chrys Muszka (in Toronto) – yoga teacher & reiki healer. I also practice reiki and offer sessions in LA.
- Use a weighted blanket to help anxiety and increase mood.
- Listen to uplifting podcasts. My favourite are by Tara Brach.
- If you’re struggling with addiction attend AA meetings regularly & find a sponsor.
Sleep Hygiene Tips!
Adding these tricks to my routine have helped me improve my sleep quality tons:
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Create bedtime routine (Ex. reading, meditating, a bath, etc.)
- Avoid stimulants: Caffeine, chocolate, and nicotine can keep you awake.
- Schedule your sleep. Go to bed & wake up at the same time every day to establish a regular sleep-wake cycle.
- Stop using electronics or watching TV an hour or two before bed. The blue light may interfere with your body’s production of melatonin & keep you awake.
- Natural supplements for sleep have worked well for me. Please consult your doctor before trying anything. I recommend: melatonin, magnesium, valerian root.
- Make your bedroom cool and comfortable. Keep your room dark, turn down the thermostat, use soft bed sheets, only use your bedroom for sleep or sex.
- Use essential oils on your skin, pillow, or in a diffuser for relaxation before bed.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night it’s best to get out of bed and do some monotonous activity (ie. reading on the couch) in dim lighting. After 15 minutes go back to bed and try to fall asleep again.
- Go to a sleep clinic if you’re unable to resolve the issue yourself. You may need assistance from a doctor.
Please make time for self care and balance in your lifestyle. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. The better we feel inside, the better we are able to live fulfilling lives and having loving relationships with ourselves and others.