Patient Blogs | Schizophrenia
Managing My Mental Health With Schizophrenia
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My mental health is very important to me and living with schizophrenia makes it important that I’m vigilant in taking care of managing it. While getting treatment for my diagnosis helps me to manage my symptoms, I also do my best to take care of myself and my mental health so I can continue to live a fuller and more satisfying life.

Setting up a daily routine is beneficial for me to manage my mental health. The most important part of my daily routine is that I take my medications as prescribed every day. Without taking my medication, I wouldn’t be able to manage my symptoms, so taking my medications makes it easier to manage my mental health. I also make it a point to shower, brush my teeth, and put on fresh clothes each day. Having a good hygiene regime helps me to start my day off right and also creates a sense of order in my day and life. 

Recently I have noticed that what I eat and drink does affect my mental health. Too much sugar makes me anxious and doesn’t help my concentration. I lack motivation and drive when I eat too much junk food and drink a lot of soft drinks. For the last year, I’ve tried to drink water and add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. It has boosted my mood and energy and improved my daily life. I also try to eat my meals around the same time every day so I feel more stable.  

Getting in some exercise also helps me be more alert and focused throughout the day. My mind feels more energized when I’m active. When I’m at work, I get up from my desk and take a short walk in the halls or even go outside to get some fresh air around my building. It isn’t good for me to sit for long periods of time, so sometimes I even do chair yoga poses to help stretch and wake myself up during the day. 

Another area of my life that is extremely beneficial to my mental health is getting good sleep. I go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time every morning. I try to make sure that I sleep for the recommended 7 to 8 hours a night so I don’t oversleep. Not only does this practice improve my mood and thinking, but it helps me to manage my symptoms of schizophrenia. I feel refreshed after a good night’s rest and I’m ready to take on the day. 

Stress can be detrimental to my mental health, so I try to avoid letting my stress level get too high. When I get stressed, my thoughts become jumbled, and I start to overthink everything that I’m doing. If I don’t get a handle on my stress, not only does it affect my mental health, but it can lead to worsening my symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. This can lead to a psychotic episode, so it’s important that I don’t let my stress level get out of hand. I’m careful to avoid stressful situations like being in overstimulating environments and around negative people. Unplugging from social media is key during times of stress. I spend time in a calm, low-stimulation environment while listening to soft music and meditating or doing something creative to relieve my stress and bolster my mental health. 

Having quality shared connections with family, friends, and co-workers is also beneficial to my mental health. I make it a point to interact with positive people that see me and not my diagnosis first. My support network uplifts me and makes me feel valued in a world that doesn’t understand schizophrenia. I love spending time with family and friends doing things that I enjoy like going to the movies or going out to eat. These pleasant interactions help me to feel better and prevent me from isolating myself from the outside world.  

Managing my mental health has become easier over the years. It took time and practice to find out what worked best for me. Once I was able to manage my symptoms it became easier to focus on my mental health. Remember that managing your mental health is part of the recovery process. If you get discouraged, give yourself grace and know that managing your mental health and recovery is possible.   

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Westend61 via Getty Images

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Lisa Guardiola

Lisa Guardiola

Diagnosed since 2004

Lisa Guardiola has been living with schizophrenia for 17 years. Passionate about helping others with mental illness, Guardiola is a community outreach and education trainer for the Sertoma Centre and the Vice President of NAMI South Suburbs of Chicago, where she leads educational and training initiatives. She loves journaling, oil painting, and spending time with her family and cat Loki. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.

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