self portrait plus cat

Tips for better mental health: 2 years of tackling review

Depression, Stress and Anxiety; I am no stranger to trying to manage it day in and day out. 2 years ago, I was diagnosed and the first thing that people don’t realise is… it is for life. Unfortunately, once triggered it’s difficult to lose but you need to learn how to life with it.

Since my post in 2016, I was signed off to be back at work, faced redundancies, planned and had 3 weddings (yep, but actually wasn’t that stressful) and had continued problems with the house. At no point did I not have to manage my brain, so how did I do it.

Created a Sanctuary.

This is pretty corny, but I found sanctuary at the gym next to my work and it really does help. Disappearing from my desk for an hour to be able to focus on something as simple as a workout or a routine feels amazing.

Treadmill shot with fun leggings
Treadmill shot with fun leggings


Not only does this have physical health benefits, but mental too. From a physical point of view, you no longer ache or feel tired (I find myself tired and achy when I’m struggling), your complexion and appearance will improve (if this is something that bothers you) but the chemicals that are made within the body during exercise make your head feel great.

Social environments.

I’m not one for crowds and big parties. I always end up alone talking to the dog or cat, but this year I chose which Christmas parties I would go to and went to those only. It really helped.

Positive reflection habits.

I took up bullet journalling (is that even a word?) to help track my mood as well as note things that bother me. I have what I’ve affectionately called my ‘Top 3’ list as well. This is inspired by diary writing but before bed every night I write down 3 things that went well, I liked or happy about. I.e. the traffic was great today, the cat wasn’t sick, I had a cracking lunch. It doesn’t need to be a paragraph and can simply be a sentence or 2 but it really puts a positive end to your day and sets you up for the next one.

Bullet journals for mental health

Zoning out.

Not normally seen as a positive thing but I’ve learned to control this to my advantage. When making food, drawing or when doing anything I generally enjoy, I try to concentrate only on what I’m doing. I listen to the sizzle in the pan, the smell of the food or tea i’m making, the sound of the pencils on the paper etc. It’s very relaxing and helps you to refocus.

The other way I do this at work is using the headphone code. The rule is, Headphones in… I don’t want to talk to you. It’s an unwritten code within the office and it really works. It means I can whack on some tunes and completely zone into what I’m working on.

Setting some simple goals.

As I mentioned, I’ve started to keep a bullet journal so I’ve filled it with lists of things I want to achieve this year or want to focus on. These have been broken down into very simple steps, such as:

  • Make the house a home
    • EXAMPLE: Change the lampshades in the office
  • Better my copy-writing skills
    • EXAMPLE: Attend a few workshops and classes
  • The 5 Year Plan
    • EXAMPLE: Up skill my role to be able to work abroad.
      • i.e. learn a new language, teaching skills (in case English teacher is all I can get), set up businesses I can do from my computer

See, simple (sort of) steps that add up to those things that make me happy.

Remembering it’s OK not to be OK.

Slowly but surely, the stigma around mental health is going however, you still get some people tell you to snap out of it. ‘Great advice Doris’ *eyeroll*

Just being comfortable enough about my own issues and being OK to talk about them with others makes me feel a little better. It also helps me to feel a little more open to discuss how I feel with friends.


And last but not least, remember that everything is about balance. There’s things you have to do and things you want to do… sometimes the things you want to do have to wait until you can.

For example, I have to wait until the right time to travel or I have to pick and choose when I eat that yummy cake versus the salad. Or simply when I should and shouldn’t go to the gym.  It’s tough but I’m getting there.


How about you? What helps your mental health? Do you do any of the above tricks?



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