Today I have the great honour of having the lovely and talented Charlotte Underwood featuring on my blog. She is someone I greatly admire, she is a fantastic writer and a wonderful mental health advocate.
Together we are going to share some of the ways that we try to stay positive, despite our day to day battles with our health.
Charlotte’s Positive Tips
Staying positive is so hard when you are battling mental illness. I’ve fought anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I just don’t often see the world, my world, in a ‘positive’ light. You know what? That’s okay, we’re all living in our own personal realities, there’s no right or wrong but when it gets really hard, these are my tips to keep your head above water.
- Days are usually easy for me, the light and the sun just fills me with life. But as the day ends, my mood falls and at night, that’s usually when I relapse. I’ve found that using a nightlight can help at night, and if you can spare the cash, a SADS natural light can help too! Always remember that you can call 111 at any time if you are in the UK and they can help in a crisis.
- I am the first person to want to fill my calendar. Something about knowing that my year will contain many beautiful memories and it won’t be wasted helps me. But sometimes, I get overwhelmed and I can’t do the plans that I wanted. In these moments, it’s easy to get angry at your anxiety and almost ashamed but remember that it’s okay to cancel plans and stay in bed. The best tip here is to remember your value, your wellbeing is more important – plans can be rearranged but mental health can’t.
- Leaving the comforts of your own room, let alone home, can be a terrifying idea. You feel safe in your own territory. Though, even though we feel protected, it can do us damage to be isolated. Making an effort to just see the outside helps; start small, open a window when the sun’s shining or there’s a breathtaking downpour – connect with nature. If you can leave the house once a week, that’s so amazing,
even for a moment; over time you may even be able to do daily trips outside – even if it’s just to your backyard.
- I don’t know about you, but when my emotions get the best of me, I can feel so flooded in pain that I need to let it out. In the past, I would self harm or drink but that’s not a healthy coping mechanism. When you need to remove that poison feeling from your mind, I’ve found that music that relates to your mood helps – let out those tears – open the floodgates! We are only human!
- I can get so overwhelmed that I need to comfort myself, so I’ll fall back on my progress. For me, that’s usually binge eating, even though I’m in the middle of trying to lose weight. It can be so disheartening to feel like you’ve failed. In these moments, a simple affirmation that life does not need to be filled like a quota, you can restart at any time. So you ate a whole cake, we’ve all been there but it doesn’t mean that you have to give up; press reset.
My Positive Tips
Staying positive while battling mental illness along with chronic physical illness can be really difficult. I like to think of myself as a positive person in general as much as I can, but these are some of the things I do to try to maintain that:
- I try to look on the bright side of things, even when it seems like the darkest situation. I take the time to search for something that can be viewed in a positive light, and if there isn’t anything, I focus on something else that was good that day, even if it’s something just really small.
- I remember to talk to others, to voice my concerns or what I’m going through to a member of my support system. They help me to feel more positive in general, to get through difficult times and to see the brighter side of life when I can’t do it for myself.
- My pets are something that never fail to put a smile on my face, even in the darkest of the days. My dogs give the best cuddles, even if it’s just lying in bed snuggling with them, it makes things feel a little better.
- I ensure that I am not too hard on myself, even though that can be tough at times. I remind myself that whatever I have done today is good enough, because I’m doing my best even if I can’t get a lot done.
- I treat myself when I’m having a really hard time, whether this be to a piece of comfort food that I really enjoy, watching a favourite film or buying myself a little gift.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this and thanks again to my lovely new friend Charlotte.