What is Mental Health Recovery?
What is mental health recovery? How do you define your mental health recovery? Is it a newer revelation in your life, or have you been on the ebb and flow journey for years? Those of us with mental health conditions will always live with our mental health condition(s). With that in mind, it is possible to live with a mental health condition(s) and accomplish your career, life, and personal goals!
Mental health recovery is a process through which one consciously improves their health and wellness towards reaching their mental health, personal and professional goals. The process often includes some form of therapy, creating new, active and healthy habits, and building a support system.
I started to reflect on my mental health recovery a few years ago, but in reality, I was on a mental health recovery journey since entering my first therapist's office a decade ago. I think of my mental health recovery like an ocean tide; sometimes it is high, low, calm, or choppy. Over the years, I've learned it is important to have some form of treatment, maintain my health/wellness, have personal/professional goals, and have a support system. All these factors help to preserve my mental wellbeing which I will dive into below.
Treatment was the first necessary step towards my mental health recovery. My treatment included talk therapy with a psychotherapist and alternative practices like massage, acupuncture, and Reiki.
Health and Wellness:
Starting and maintaining a self-care routine is a necessary step towards mental health recovery. Before my anxiety took over my life, I did little to take care of myself. My eating habits were poor, and I did not exercise. After learning about the benefits of eating a healthy diet and exercising, I changed habits and developed a self-care routine to keep my physical and mental health in check.
Focus on career and personal goals:
I’ve often talked about anxiety popping back into my life when I am going through a life transition or experience heightened bouts of stress. I tend to focus less on personal and professional goals when I am going through a tough time, but I’ve learned it is important to continue to focus on goals while going through a bout of anxiety as it helps me focus on something outside myself.
Connecting with friends, family, members of your community and others going through what you are going through will help to keep you balanced during your recovery. I was ashamed of my anxiety during my adolescence and only spoke about my anxiety to my mom and therapist. It left me with feelings of sadness during the beginning stages of my mental health recovery as I felt I had no one to talk to. Over the years, I learned it is vital to maintain a close support system of trusted friends and family to help me when I am going through a challenging time.
Mental health recovery is an ongoing process, and it looks different for everyone. It is perfectly okay and normal to have good days, bad days and mediocre days while you are recovering from a mental health condition. Always remember, you are not alone, there are lots of us working on our own mental health recovery every day.