It’s a really good feeling to look over the past year and recognize the mental health gains you have made. When mental illness impacts your life, it can be tempting to try to pretend that unpleasant or challenging symptoms will go away if you ignore them. You’ve learned that it’s unlikely your symptoms will simply go away, and this past year you’ve done a lot of work on yourself. If you think about where you were a year ago, you can probably tell that you’ve come a long way.
Not everyone who has mental illness challenges has the courage or discipline to stick with therapy, attend support groups and do inner work at home such as journaling or mindfulness. Encourage yourself to continue to stay on track by celebrating your mental health gains. Rewarding yourself periodically for doing the right thing or attaining a goal can help you to stay motivated.
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Do Something Fun
There are many options for recreational activities that can make you feel celebrated. While some may cost a little bit of money, there are also plenty of choices that don’t have a price tag. Some fun things you can do include:
- Go to a festival, an art gallery or a concert
- Visit a local museum
- Go to your favorite restaurant
- Go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Buy yourself a new outfit
You may want to reward yourself by buying something you’ve been putting off, such as a subscription to a music or video streaming service. Consider taking a class and learning something new, like photography, cooking or anything else that you’ve always wanted to do.
Enjoying Nature and Other Free Ways to Celebrate
For many people, being outdoors can be very peaceful and centering. If you live near a beach or lake, spending time sitting by the water can be very refreshing. Visit a state park near you and have a picnic or go on a nature walk. Spend some time watching the stars at night and reflect on your progress.
If you don’t think of yourself as an outdoors person, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate your success that don’t have to cost money. You might want to binge watch your favorite movies or TV shows or enjoy a bubble bath surrounded by aromatic candles.
The Gift of Time
Choosing how you want to spend your time can be very self-nurturing. If you enjoy socializing, have a few friends over to play cards, watch movies or listen to music together, or go somewhere together like a sporting event. If you have kids, spending a day enjoying each other’s company and doing something special like going to the zoo or park can be memorable and healing for all of you. Call someone you haven’t seen in a while and make plans to spend some time together.
Some people find that life can feel over-stimulating at times. If you feel that way, you may enjoy spending a day completely alone reading, listening to music, baking or working on handicrafts. Spend time interacting with pets and giving them your undivided attention. Spending quiet time getting away from your normal routine can help you to evaluate how far you’ve come and to celebrate the progress you’ve made.
Give yourself a pat on the back for everything you’ve done right so far and give yourself permission to enjoy the gift of time spent doing whatever makes you feel content or happy. Noticing and periodically rewarding yourself for your progress is a great way to encourage yourself to keep taking care of your mental health in the coming year.
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health disorders, please contact us at (855) 409-0204 or submit the form below and a treatment specialist will contact you.