“I’m so tired. I didn’t sleep enough. I have so much to get through today. I don’t know how I’m going to get through it all. I wish I didn’t have to go out. I don’t want to. Why do I feel so crappy?”
Any of this sound familiar?
Waking up in the morning is your first, and potentially your best, indicator for how you’ll feel for the rest of the day. We hear it all the time from people living with mental health challenges. If the first thought to escape your mind when you open your eyes is self-recrimination, you could be in for a rough ride for the rest of the day. Put another way, if you wake up beating yourself with a stick, you tend to carry that stick around with you all day until you go back to bed again.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get rid of that constant pit in your stomach using two of the 10 Principles of Peerhear: Routine and Prioritise Life.
The Peerhear Principles are tools you can use to stay on track in your journey to mental wellness. And, get there faster! They’re not meant to replace professional peer support as a tried and tested method of recovery. Instead, they’re actions you can take to change your own destiny. Think: “I could roll a ball down a hill and it will inevitably arrive at the bottom. Or I could kick it and watch it get there much faster.”
Principle One and Two of the ten are designed to empower you to enter your day with purpose. A Harvard Medical School Journal published in April 2020 underlines the power of purposefulness when it comes to mental health. Survey results revealed those who had it, i.e. purpose; “had better physical and mental health scores and higher cognitive function compared with those who didn't.”
Here’s how to get some purpose for yourself:
Follow a morning routine
There’s a world of difference between entering consciousness via your untamed thoughts and waking up knowing what comes next. Routine gives meaning to your day. It almost doesn’t matter what’s in that routine, only that you do it daily and the things you choose to include get you closer to your health and happiness goals.
For some, routine might be making a short list before your first morning coffee of the great things you’re planning on doing during the day. For others, it might be a ten minute meditation before getting showered and ready to take on the day with a clear mind.
For Peerhear founder Peter Burge it’s exercise. “If I let my morning exercise slip it has a domino effect on other good habits, including healthy eating, and before I know it I’ve gone backwards in my journey to a happy, fulfilled life.”
It sounds like something you’d print on a t-shirt, doesn’t it? When we ask people to choose life or put you first, we’re not being flippant. It’s just that people living with depression, anxiety, low-self esteem and other types of mental vulnerability are notoriously bad at putting life ahead of obligations. When you assume you are not worthy, never right, or that your opinion isn’t valuable, you tend to spend your time doing what others ask of you before the things that you want to do. The things that make you happy!
A happy, healthy person structures their day around the things they are most looking forward to doing. Like coffee with a friend, going to the gym, reading a good book, kicking a football around with the kids. With those things in place, you have something positive to reflect on at the end of each and every day.
The fact is, prioritising life is prioritising your mental health. Living a healthier, happier life starts with your mental health.
What mind-healthy habits will you start today?
Helping yourself recover from mental health challenges doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be simple little changes, repeated daily, like the two outlined in this blog. And starting them is just a matter or waking up differently.
“It’s my day and I’ll do it my way.” Just think, this could be your waking thought tomorrow!
We get that sometimes helping yourself isn’t enough by itself. Sometimes, you just need to chat with someone who understands you and can see the wood for the trees, to help you find your way out of the forest. If you would like to book an appointment with a peer support counsellor click here.