Tips for getting out of a mental health hole

Falling down a mental health hole

Life is generally pretty good for Rowan and me, but we have been challenged over the past six months. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am the first to say that many other people experience far greater challenges than we do. Having said that, a few things have happened and as a result I found myself down a bit of a mental health hole. Much as I tried to put on my Pollyanna Pants (I am naturally an optimist) it just wasn’t working.

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How did I get here?

Of course the only solution when you are down a hole is to dig yourself out of it, and that is what I am doing as I write. But first, why did I get down in a hole in the first place ? (I hate to be boring and negative but understanding the problem helps to understand the solution). A good tool for determining this is The Wheel of Life.

Digging myself out of a mental health hole
Digging myself out of a mental health hole

We have been dealing with some challenges within our local community – I don’t want to say too much about that because we live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia and I hate to talk it down. But, as is the case in many small communities, we have had to deal with local politics and let’s just say in this instance we have been on the wrong side of some!

We have also been wanting to sell our house and move (for family reasons) and that is taking longer than we would have liked. We knew it would take a while but we are keen to get on with the rest of our lives and felt a bit stuck. We very much wanted to travel to Europe for an  extended period but felt we couldn’t because we might sell and then we had all that packing and the paperwork …. what if that happened just after we left the country? Oh no, we can’t go!

These issues all added up

I have been dealing with some niggling body issues which have made distance walking a challenge. I love walking, it is my favourite way of exercising and I love travel, and when we travel we walk – a lot!

Walking towards mental health
Walking – my favourite exercise

I needed to deal with a number of technology issues and I was feeling overwhelmed by all that, not quite knowing where to start.

I was also feeling a bit of a hangover from our trip to Singapore and Penang. I realise that is definitely a first world problem but it did add to my blue mood – all that washing and ironing for a start! I came down to earth with a real thump.

And to top it all off, a friend my age died unexpectedly, causing me to consider what life is all about. Here for a good time not a long time perhaps?

Digging myself out

So here I am stuck down a hole; what to do about that ? Luckily I have a few tools at my disposal and I want to share them with you, as well as talk about some external help I sought. I had pretty much stopped doing all the things that work for me (well not all, but some) so really I only have myself to blame. I took a good hard look at myself and put the following in place:

  • I stopped picking up my mobile phone first thing in the morning. I love my blog and my social media and I get a lot of joy from participating in the online world. The trouble was, I was immediately getting involved in the external world before checking in with my inner world or indeed with Rowan. Factors ‘out there’ were driving my day.
  • I went back to meditating in the mornings – nothing big or long, but a couple of simple visualisations to set me up for the day and to somewhat insulate me from any surrounding negativity.
  • I added aromatherapy to my day, using essential  oils both in a diffuser and also in scented candles. I’m a big fan of fresh aromas like the citrus blends and mint styles. This is my favourite place to find beautiful essential oils.
  • I re-commenced taking a daily dose of Australian Bush Flower Essences, starting with the Dynamis Essence and then moving to Confid Essence.
  • I knocked a lot of sugar out of my diet and went back to making delicious goodies from the Wholefood Simply book “How sweet it is” by Bianca Slade.
  • With Rowan’s help, plus the help of some online friends, I made a tough decision about the technology issues – I still need to deal with these, but I have begun to map out a path and that alone sequestered the sense of overwhelm.
a candle and its box sit on a timber platter next to a bottle of essential oil. The platter sits on a black and white tiled floor
Beautiful aromatherapy products from Buckley & Phillips add comfort and an energy boost to my day
The big decision
  • I decided that life really was too short and we needed to find a way to make that trip to Europe. I had started down this path before our friend died, but his death made me even more determined – life is too short! We put the paperwork in place for our solicitor to manage a sale in our absence (should that happen) and we began sorting, disposing of and packing items that we don’t use every day. That in itself began to shift my energy. We booked flights.
Overseas travel definitely improves my mental health
Overseas travel definitely improves my mental health
  • With Europe in mind I knew I had to get my body in much better shape, so I committed myself to go back to my myotherapist and get myself walking much more easily. After just one visit I already feel better, so once I have that really comfortable I will be able to get fit for all those stairs and hills! And of course walking helps my mental health as well as my health in general.
  • I did the bloody washing and ironing and got that off my list!

I consider myself a work in progress – aren’t we all – but progress is indeed being made. If one thing in this post helps you to live a better life then I will be really happy.

Older and Wiser