Let’s Talk About…Coping

It is extremely important to assert that I am not a medical professional and that these tips are NOT meant as alternatives to professional help but as supplements that I do alongside seeking medical support.

Mental health is a huge umbrella term and, because of this, I can only give suggestions of coping mechanisms that have worked for me personally. I have devised a list of some things that I have found help me in day-to-day life and hopefully might help others.

  1. Cooking

Often during depressive episodes, I lose my appetite. Fortunately, living with a group of students means that that there is always someone looking for food.

I’ve found that just getting out of bed and cooking something, even if I don’t eat it, helps me. Cooking to me is a kind of therapy. Trying new recipes gives me self-confidence and it feeds my soul to know that I am making people happy through food even when I’m not necessarily feeling the happiest myself.

2. Sleep

In my experience, there is a fine line when it comes to my mental health and sleep. Usually, I find that sleep fixes everything. Chronic headaches? Sleep. Family troubles? Sleep. Depressed? SLEEP. Frequently, insomnia comes as a side effect of mental health conditions. The idea of falling asleep sounds great but as soon as we try to do it, we are doomed to overthink every little detail of our life.

However, finding the balance between sleeping too much and not sleeping enough is important. If you can set up a healthy sleep schedule, this can help a lot.

  1. Order

I’ll be the first to admit that I wish I was tidier; I hate doing dishes and the back of my car is one big trash can.

It may seem silly to some but having a tidy room can help to calm anxiety. Those suffering from depression often lack the motivation when faced with overwhelming tasks and doing something as simple as folding laundry and making the bed instils a sense of accomplishment that is difficult to achieve when everyday tasks seem impossible.

I find that giving myself specific tasks that I want to achieve drives me to get up and do things. Depending on my mental state, these tasks can be as small as watering plants or washing my hair. Little successes act to strengthen the mind.

Below is a list of resources available to anyone who feels they are struggling with mental health issues:

Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/?nation=scotland or call 116 123 free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Mind mental health charity – https://www.mind.org.uk/

LGBT health and wellbeing – https://www.lgbthealth.org.uk/

Glasgow University Counselling and Psychological Services – https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/counselling/

[ Carrie MacNeill – she/her – @carriemac97 ]

[Photo credit: albertobv/flickr.com]

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