How to Deal With a Mental Illness

Being diagnosed with a mental health condition doesn’t mean you won’t be able to cope. There are many ways to deal with living with mental illness and still flourish. Below are some tips on how to improve your mental health:

Medication: Not everyone needs medication to treat mental illness but it is the most commonly effective form of treatment. It is important to work with your psychiatric team or GP to find the most suitable medication for you. It may take some time for your body to adjust and there may be some uncomfortable side effects but most people find the positives of taking medication being stability and soundness of mind, outweigh the negatives.

Exercise: Even if you don’t feel like exercising, trying a gentle exercise routine like Yoga, Pilates or walking can greatly improve your mood. Try meeting up for a friend for a refreshing walk, or going for a gentle swim just to get your body moving. Exercise does not always have to be strenuous it can be used as a form of meditation, such as in yoga.

Meditation and mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness have long been used to calm the mind and for people with mental health issues it is no different. Our Recovery College Greenwich runs courses on both practices and find that students benefit from quietening the mind, reflecting and observing the body.

Healthy diet: Food is fuel for the body and mind to function. A healthy body equals a healthy mind. Recovering from mental illness can take its toll on our physical health so it’s important to ensure your diet is healthy. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Recovery College Greenwich runs Food for Thought courses which are very popular and teach students how to eat healthily on a budget.

Reaching out for help: Dealing with a mental health condition alone can be difficult. It is important to surround yourself by friends and family who understand and reach out for help as often as you need it. If you find your support network lacking, finding a good therapist or counsellor can really give you a lifeline of support with whom to talk things through.


Good sleep: While living with a mental illness, it can be difficult to get to sleep. Trying things like reading before bed, relaxing, having a hot milky drink, meditating and calming the mind. Ensure you get enough sleep even if it means having a lie-in. Lack of sleep can trigger mental illness so it is vital to get enough rest.

Taking a break: If things get too much or you are feeling overwhelmed, Stop and take a break. Having a cup of tea with a friend and talking things through can be mood-changing. If you are at work and finding you are getting too busy take a break, relax and get things into perspective. A brisk walk at lunchtime can calm the mind.