mental health self-management
In fact, the power to act is central to self-management.
By definition, a self-management approach means taking an active role in our own well-being. You get involved in the choices concerning your mental health. After all, no one knows you better than you know yourself. You’re in the best position to know what’s right for you.
Among other things, self-management includes small everyday actions to get better: taking a hot bath, cooking a good meal, tending to your plants, doing an art project or listening to music.
All of these behaviours help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and bipolarity, prevent relapse, and improve your quality of life.
Self-management is about learning to live with anxiety, depression or bipolarity.
what is self-management?
Self-management is more than just an “approach”—it is the very DNA of Relief.
It is what defines us as an organization and sets us apart as a forward-thinking innovator. It is the basis of all the services and workshops we offer to help people learn to live with anxiety, depression or bipolarity.
Why? Simply because it is a proven approach.
So what exactly is self-management? Self-management can be summed up as regaining power over our mental health.
Do you know what it’s like to feel powerless because of anxiety, depression or bipolarity? To feel so overwhelmed that you’ve lost any sense of control? To feel like your anxiety, depression or bipolarity has hijacked your body? Regaining power over our mental health means overcoming this powerlessness and having the means to take action.
what is Relief’s role in supporting self-management?
At first glance, it might seem like self-management means undertaking the journey to mental health alone.
But it’s exactly the opposite. We are here for you. We owe it to you to be here for you. You hold the steering wheel, but we’re in the passenger seat, guiding you along.
You decide on the route, but we give you the tools to make the journey as smooth as possible. Our role is to accompany you, support you, equip you, guide you, and give you the means to take care of yourself.
Each path is different, because self-management is a matter of what works for each individual. It takes into account your experiences, values, preferences, strengths and pace.
No matter which unique path you take to mental health, self-management draws on four foundational principles. We are here to support you throughout your journey.
Self-awareness might seem like a no-brainer, but this isn’t always the case. It is essential to come to know your strengths, weaknesses, warning signals, and the warning signs of relapse. Self-awareness is also an opportunity to learn more about anxiety, depression or bipolarity, available resources and the various self-management strategies available to you.
What factors influence your well-being, mood or stress levels? This is one of many questions you will have to ask yourself to better assess your health.
Your mental health is in your hands, and the choices are up to you. You will be able to pick and choose the behaviours best suited to promoting your own well-being and quality of life, because you are the expert on your mental health.
Earlier, we discussed the power to act. Adopting a self-management approach also means taking action by adopting the behaviours you have chosen.
Self-management support is not a substitute for psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy (medication). It is complementary.
It is an additional form of support to help you find a better quality of life on a daily basis. The great thing about self-management is that you never start from scratch. Just by reading these lines, you are already taking action!
Does the self-management approach speak to you?
how can I help a loved one who is living with anxiety, depression or bipolarity?
Without the right tools, living with anxiety, depression or bipolarity can be very painful. And it can likewise be painful for you, as a loved one, to see someone you care about suffer.
Whether you’re a family member, spouse, friend or co-worker, you are an important source of support.
Your support can take many forms. For example, you can provide financial or other concrete assistance (instrumental support), share advice or information (informational support), or offer care, an attentive ear or comfort (emotional support).
But you can’t be everywhere at once. This is why it can be useful for someone living with anxiety, depression or bipolarity to identify who their loved ones are and how each can help them, while minding their respective situations and limits.
You are entitled to your limits. In fact, it’s important to not only know and recognize your limits, but communicate and uphold them in order to avoid compromising your mental health when you help someone close to you.
This is one of the seven strategies that you can adopt to help you help a loved one living with anxiety, depression or bipolarity.
7 strategies to help a loved one without causing (yourself) harm
1. Be familiar with the anxious, depressive or bipolar disorder your loved one is living with
- Learn about the symptoms and signs of a relapse
- Know about your loved one’s medications, the side effects and what could happen if they suddenly stop taking them
- Try to separate their symptoms from their personality
2. Know yourself
- Know your limits
- Regularly assess your own stress and anxiety levels
3. Work on feeling less guilty
- Be less critical of yourself and avoid blaming yourself unnecessarily
- Break the silence: surround yourself with people you can talk to
4. Improve your communication skills
- Express your positive and negative emotions clearly and effectively
- Strive to be authentic, real and honest; make your limitations known; let your loved one know before taking action with regard to their health or recovery
5. Set realistic expectations
- Respect your loved one’s pace
- Pay attention to the positive aspects of the situation, as trivial as they may seem
- Be patient and accepting
6. Establish the same rules for everyone in the house
- Don’t over-protect your loved one and cast them as “sick”
- Keep the household running as usual to promote quality of life
- Avoid overextending yourself and sacrificing your own quality of life
7. Join support groups for family members or seek therapy to find:
- Support to develop assertiveness
- A listening ear, and guidance in defusing feelings of aggression and guilt
- Means of improving your communication
- A better understanding of the various manifestations of the disorder in question
- Help with focusing your efforts and energy to achieve well-being
- Support from people who are experiencing things similar to you