How can you look after your mental health with self-management?

There are 1,001 ways to look after your mental health. At the end of the day, you are in the best position to know what helps you feel better and what diminishes your symptoms of anxiety, depression or bipolarity. But to do so, you need the right tools.

We thought we’d tell you about an approach that offers a host of benefits and is the foundation of our work at Relief: mental health self-management.

an approach to foster your well-being 

Self-management is for anyone who wants to look after their mental health, whether in terms of preventing issues or learning to live with anxietydepression or bipolarity. It is not a substitute for psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy (medication), but is complementary.

At first glance, mental health self-management might seem complex, but it is actually fairly straightforward.

It involves putting in place means and behaviours in order to help diminish your symptoms of anxiety, depression or bipolarity, prevent yourself from relapsing, and improve your well-being.

It is an approach focused on small everyday actions you can take to care for your mental health, such as walking your dog in the park, reading your newspaper in the morning or sharing a good meal with friends.

These behaviours not only alleviate symptoms for people living with mental health issues, but promote a better overall quality of life.

Because mental health is more than the absence of symptoms. It means leading a fulfilling life of hope and meaning, and having a sense of balance, control and well-being.

the 4 pillars of mental health self-management

We mentioned earlier that there is no one recipe for looking after your mental health, and this is true. However, there are 4 key ingredients or pillars of mental health self-management.

1. Know

Understanding and learning to recognize your early warning signs of relapse, your helpful and detrimental behaviours, and your strengths and weaknesses. You cannot look after your mental health without getting to know yourself first.

2. Assess

Assessing the factors that influence your well-being, mood or stress levels using various tools and techniques. There are times when you feel better than others, but it’s hard to know why without taking a closer look.

3. Choose

Choosing the behaviours that work best for you in order to support your well-being and quality of life based on your preferences, interests and needs. Your mental health is up to you, as are your choices.

4. Act

Taking an active role in your well-being by adopting the behaviours you’ve chosen. Unlike other forms of treatment, the mental health self-management approach is action-oriented.

In other words, it’s an approach that you can apply independently, i.e., completely on your own. This being said, you can also get help from mental health professionals who can provide you with tools and guidance. This is called self-management support.

mental health self-management support

Not only can you be supported in your mental health self-management journey, but maybe you should—it can be extremely helpful.

The benefits of mental health self-management have been shown to be greater when a professional is there to provide tools and guidance.

You may have noticed the terms “assist,” “tools,” “guide” and “support” used in this post. They are not there by chance; they sum up the role of mental health professionals who take a self-management approach.

Their role is to give you the means to care for yourself. However, you remain the expert on your mental health.

Every journey is different, because self-management starts with you. It takes into account your experiences, your values, your preferences and your own pace. This is a far cry from a prescriptive approach that tells you, “this is what you need to do to get better.”

Does this approach resonate with you? Check out our 5 self-management workshops where you can learn to live with anxiety, depression and bipolarity as well as enjoy better self-esteem and balance at work.

Discover the self-management workshops

Relief would like to acknowledge the contribution of 
Charles Saliba-Couture to this post.

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