Thursday, 19 May 2016

MHAW: Relationships in Mental Health – The Relationship With Yourself

Leah writes about how sometimes the most important relationship you can have is the one with yourself

-Leah Fuller

The focus of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week is relationships, and I know that other blog posts have already touched upon friendships as a great support network if you are struggling with mental health issues. Personally, I wanted to touch on a relationship that many of us forget we have – the one with ourselves. 

Mental health issues can be a very isolating experience, especially when we think we are fighting it alone or that no-one else understands how we feel. Other relationships in our lives, be that with parents, partners, friends, or teachers are unquestionably important. However, having a relationship with yourself is undeniably even more significant throughout life. If we cannot start to believe in ourselves, like ourselves, or care for ourselves, the battle to recovery feels even more of an uphill climb. 

So, with that in mind, here are three things I personally believe you can do to improve both your relationship with yourself and your mental health:

Believe in yourself
Struggling with my own mental health, I have often thought ‘I can't do this’, ‘I'm a failure’, or ‘I'm not good enough’, as I’m sure many people can relate to. But the more we say these negative phrases the more we believe they are true. In reality, and you’ll have to trust me here, they are 100% NOT true for anyone. Believing in yourself is no easy feat, but one way to start is to tackle those thoughts by changing them to positives such as ‘I can’ and ‘I will’. The more you say them, the more you will start to believe in yourself. 

Take care of yourself
Again this is no easy task, sometimes when we’re feeling rubbish all we want to do is curl up in our duvet and hide away, but in doing this we forget to look after ourselves. It is so important to make sure you take time to eat properly, get a good amount of sleep, and do some exercise - as the saying goes healthy body, healthy mind. The best way I have found to make sure I do this is to plan my day with a to-do list including these tasks, and ticking each one as I go. This helps to acknowledge that you have both achieved things in the day and are looking after yourself. Once you’re into a routine, it’s much easier to take care of yourself. 

Make time for yourself
All too often we are too busy working towards the next deadline to make time for ourselves, to do the things we like, that bring us happiness and help us to relax. To improve your relationship with your mind, make sure you take time out, whether that’s to read a book, watch your favourite TV show, or just walk round the block. Getting some head space can really improve your outlook and do wonders for your mental health. 

Try hard this week to build a better relationship with yourself. I know it may seem a huge and hard step to take, especially if you feel you're at the bottom, but even if you take it in baby steps it will help you to be and feel happier.

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