Experiencing a mental health episode like mania, psychosis, a suicide attempt, or any other crisis that causes you to act in ways you wouldn’t normally act, or say things you wouldn’t normally say, can be embarrassing and shame inducing once the episode or crisis is over.
I know it is easy for people to say not to feel shame because 1 in 4 Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime, but just because the statistics prove that you are not alone, your self-esteem can still take a beating once the recovery process begins.
Here are 5 tips to help recover your self-esteem along with your overall mental wellness.
- Recovery can be all about small steps. Those small steps can include taking care of your personal needs and hygiene. Make a list of things to do every day like take a shower, brush your teeth, floss your teeth, brush your hair, shave, and any other personal things you did every day before the episode or crisis began. Make sure to mark items completed off of your list.
- After you accomplished taking care of your hygiene, make a list of small tasks you can do every day to keep up your house, like make the bed, do the dishes, take out the trash, etc. By marking these daily things off your list, you will have a sense of accomplishment and of progress.
- Try to get some exercise. Even twenty minutes of exercise a day is going to help you feel better about yourself, and again, it will give you a sense of normalcy. If you didn’t exercise before the episode or crisis, now is a good time to introduce walking into your day (if you are able). If you are not able to walk, you could find a few gentle stretches or exercises you are able to do, and incorporate those into your day.
- Try to get out of the house and out of your head. Staying indoors all day can increase feelings of depression. I know it is difficult to find the motivation to get out, but if you can, try to volunteer an hour or two a week at an animal shelter or a place that serves food to the homeless and low income. For those that have social anxiety, being out can be extremely stressful, but if you start in short increments you may be able to gradually increase your time around people and continue to build your self-esteem.
- Start a creative project that you can work on (and finish). If you like to write try writing for fifteen minutes to twenty minutes a day. If you like to knit, or sew, or cook, or play music, try spending some time being creative and working toward a goal you can mark your progress on.
The most important thing to remember after an episode or crisis is that you survived – that is by far the most important detail. Taking small steps toward a more productive and social life will help you rebuild your self-esteem and life. You never know, you may build it up to be much better than it was before – it is possible, believe it, it can happen.
Shaving photo available from Shutterstock