Healthy Habits: Actions to Recovery

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The process of recovering your mental health helps you find the parts of yourself that were lost; helps you learn about what makes you strong and where you are most vulnerable; encourages you to accept support from people who care about you; and shows you ways that you can create a life focused on positive interactions.

Within the past year, our individual and collective mental health has faced new and mounting challenges. In many instances, individuals who felt particularly vulnerable and had experienced poor mental health prior to the pandemic, found their symptoms had worsened. While the cumulative effect from COVID-19 has been frustrating and distressing for many, it is important to always look at recovery as a long-term continuum. Remember that spending time on improving your mental health requires dedication and sustained effort.

 


 

What does recovery look like?

 

For recovery to be successful, you need to embrace actions that will help you heal. The personalized care you receive is going to help you learn about and create a positive sense of self. There is no single service or solution, therapy or treatment that will improve everyone’s mental health, because everyone is different. There are however, things you can do to help find what feels right for you:

  • Accept and understand that you are receiving personalized care that is going to help you create a positive identity.
  • Be willing to accept help, recognizing that your current health, your social interactions and quality of life can be improved.
  • Be prepared to trust that the people developing your personalized recovery plan see you as an individual and will be putting supports in place that will help you given your individual circumstances.
  • Find and hold onto hope.
  • Recognize you will be involved in making choices that support your best recovery path and allow yourself to take responsibility for as much as you can in your life.
  • Be willing to learn and accept that you will regain control in your life.

As you recover, you will begin to recognize warning signs that indicate you may be moving backwards or reverting to previous harmful actions and behaviours. Identify your behaviours and moods that signal a shift in how you are thinking.

 

Here’s a small list of common warning signs when faced with mounting mental health challenges. It’s important to note that warning signs will differ between individuals. The signs noted below may also be attributed to physical health concerns. If you notice things starting to break down, you may want to consult your primary care physician or a counsellor: (1)

1. Being angry at people who you care about

2. Confusion, forgetfulness or thinking that is not clear

3. Crying and not being able to stop

4. Experiencing physical symptoms that are not usually present (excessive tiredness, lack of appetite, heart palpitations)

5. Feeling overwhelmed and that you can’t go on

6. Lack of motivation

7. Wanting to withdraw and avoid people


 

Recovery doesn’t happen without your input and involvement

 

Your involvement in defining your recovery journey is key because it is personalized. A combination of mental and physical treatments are the best approach to securing and maintaining achievements during recovery.

 


 

The Principles of Recovery

 

There isn’t a prescribed set of steps to follow for mental health recovery. Instead, it’s based on self-discovery, acceptance, personal growth, working through occasional setbacks and learning from all of these experiences. Having a “holistic, person- centered approach to mental health care,” where recovery focusses on every aspect of your life is crucial. (2) That means looking at you (both mind and body), your spirit, and your community. Don’t rush and don’t look at repeating steps as defeat. It’s all part of a healthy recovery experience.


 

References:

1. Copeland, M.E. (n.d) Webinar: Avoiding a crisis – When Things are Breaking Down. Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Mental Health Recovery (website). Retrieved on May 6, 2019 from https://mentalhealthrecovery.com/webinar-avoiding-a-crisis-when-things-are-breaking-down/
2. Lyon, S. (2018, May 7). The Recovery Model. very well mind. Retrieved on May 18, 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-recovery-model-2509979

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