Day to day techniques to improve your mental wellbeing

Though sometimes it may not feel like it, there are so many things we can do to overcome stressful situations and upsetting feelings! Self care refers to things that we can do in our everyday life to help us develop positive routines and build resilience to past and future negative experiences.

The ideas below are things that we can do on your own, or with support from friends and family. Some of these are backed by research, others are tips that worked for our community. But they may only be one of the things that you need to help you overcome your experiences. You may also feel that you need, or could benefit from professional support. We’ve put some more information on that below on low cost professional support

Some of these suggestions for developing regular routines that help you cope might feel out of reach right now, in which case you might want to skip to finding support and come back to these when you feel you are ready.

Self-care activities that you might want to incorporate on a daily basis

Journaling: this is a way of keeping a regular account of your life, what you are doing and how you are feeling. It’s a way of externalising your experiences.

Exercise in any form: whatever works for you and you enjoy. This could be running, walking, yoga, dance, kickboxing, pilates etc.

Eat wholesome, nutritious food to give you the energy you need, but try not to obsess over food as this will just increase your stress and worries. You will find expert advice on eating well here and here.
Important: there is no such thing as a detox diet. Read this article by Rosie Spinks which talks about the toxic diet culture and how to get out of it.

Sleep well. This might include turning your phone off at a certain time, thinking about what you eat and drink in the evening, and minimising the lighting in your room. If noise is a problem for you, you can use soft ear plugs that decrease noise. Stick to a schedule of when to go to bed and when to wake up. Ideally, develop routines or rituals for both times.  Ideally, develop routines or rituals for both times. More info here.

Get creative: what do you enjoy doing and what can you do easily? This could be reading, crafting (knitting, sewing, embroidery etc.), writing or reciting poetry, singing, painting, taking a pottery class, using adult colouring books or even photography on your phone. It can be anything you can think of.

Get your mind off it: Try to stop focussing on the situation you find difficult, and allow yourself to focus on more positive things. This is not a solution to the situation itself but can be useful if you are able to recognise your trigger and can give you a temporary relief. You will find more information on how to practice kinder thinking in the self-help section.

Get rid of downers: Alcohol and other drugs may give a good feeling at first, but together with bad mental health, they can end up making you feel worse. When used as a way to escape from your feelings, they can make it more difficult for you to get better. Other numbing ways of dealing with sadness and stress are ignoring and bottling up feelings, working or studying too hard, hurting yourself, and hurting others.

Disclaimer: This guide has not been put together by mental health professionals. It is not intended to be medical advice. It has been crowdsourced by survivors and volunteers of Chayn. Care has been taken in reflecting the experiences and knowledge of people around the world, including therapists but information in this guide should be taken instead of certified medical advice. Please seek professional support.

Getting better & moving on: A guide for mental healing after abuse and trauma by CHAYN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.