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Tips for Improving Mental Health When It’s at an All-time Low

Mental health can be like a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and it is almost never predictable. When you’re feeling fine, it is like a weight has been lifted off of your chest. On the flipside, when you are in a low point it can feel like the entire world is resting on your shoulders. Moreover, no two people are alike, so it's impossible to predict how someone will react to a given situation. What’s trauma to one person may be forgettable to the next. We never know when something will impact us because life in general is unpredictable.

Someone who seems perfectly fine one day could be struggling the next.. That's why it's so important to be aware of the signs that someone may be struggling and to reach out if you're concerned. By the same token, it’s just as important to do self-check-ins to ensure your own mental health isn’t suffering.

If you're not sure how to help someone else, there are many resources available. But the most important thing you can do is to simply be there for them. Listen without judgement and offer your support. We all need someone to lean on from time to time. Active listening is a skill that can be learned and developed. It involves being fully present and engaged with the person who is speaking and taking the time to really understand what they're trying to say. It's about more than just hearing the words; it's about understanding the message, and the emotions behind it.

When you're actively listening, you'll notice things that you might have missed otherwise. You'll be more attuned to the other person's body language and tone of voice, and you'll be able to pick up on nuances that you may have otherwise missed. This can be incredibly helpful in personal relationships, as it allows you to understand how your partner is really feeling, even if they're not saying it outright.

From a reader…

I’ve always struggled with the feeling of being a disappointment whenever I hit a low point. There are many people in my life that depend on me to be there for them and sometimes my mental health is at such a drastically depleted point that I cannot find the energy to be anyone’s support system, much less my own. There have also been times where it has been so bad that those dark and scary thoughts start to creep in. If you have ever been there, I am so sorry; it is not at all easy to come back from suicidal thoughts. However, there are a few things that I truly believe saved me and they might save someone else.

1. Writing Notes to Myself – when I am at a point where I am doing well, I have a balance in my mental health, and I know that things are going to be okay, I try and remember to write notes to myself. I’ve recognized that it is so, so important to cherish the good days but it’s also equally as important to remember that there might be another bad day or week around the corner. Writing myself notes of encouragement and love have come in handy so many times when I am feeling at my lowest. You can even ask your loved ones to write you some notes so that you remember that they cherish you and believe you make the world better just by being in it.

2. Spending Time in Nature – Nature has a lot of healing properties, and it can be incredibly peaceful. When I am feeling at my lowest, I tend to isolate myself and not want to leave the house. I try to keep a few easy outdoor activities in my back pocket that I could do either alone or with someone for an extra boost of serotonin. Sometimes I will go for a walk just to make sure I get some fresh air; other times I will meet up with a friend and go kayaking. I try to keep a few options in mind so that I can go with whatever I am feeling that day.

3. Learning When to Say “I’m Not Safe” – This is an essential part of pulling myself out of some of the darkest moments. Learn to recognize when you are not safe. By that, I mean you start to feel like you might harm yourself or endanger yourself and that you need immediate support. Keep a familiar number nearby or one for a hotline so you can pick up the phone when you need help right away. This has helped me come back from so many things and it provided the reassurance I needed in that moment.

Just like we prepare for any emergencies in our lives, it is so helpful and important to have a plan for when you might be at your worst with your mental health. Brainstorm some things that could work for you and see if any of these tips are useful. Stay safe and stay well.

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