“12 Ways to Care for Yourself While Caring for Someone with Mental Illness”

July/August 2015 LDS Living By Debra Sansing Woods Do you have anyone in your life you are close to who struggles with any kind of mental illness? There are many kinds and depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or addictions are a few of them. Continue reading this summary from the LDS Living magazine of ways you can care for you, while caring for a loved one who struggles with mental illness.
  1. Power of Prayer
    1. Make sure you are praying and connecting to the higher power you believe in. When times are tough, that can always be an added source of strength. Form a deep and intimate relationship, one where you can freely express all your worries, struggles, and even joys in your everyday life. There is no judgment, and He will be there to help guide you and give you strength.
  2. Nourish Yourself Spiritually
    1. Make it part of your everyday routine, with reading uplifting books, talks, or hearing podcasts, or shows that will deepen your spiritual awareness.
  3. Educate yourself
    1. Research and learn all that you can about the illness your loved one is dealing with. Knowing more about the illness can help you help yourself, and help your loved one with the things they are dealing with. There are many resources you can use to gain more information. You can take a class, talk to a professional, read books and read current and reliable online sources. The article recommends an online source called National Institute of Health.
  4. Talk with a Trusted Person Outside of the Situation
    1. When you are going through a hard time, having someone who is trusted who is not emotionally involved can be helpful in dealing with hard times. Make sure this person is trusted and wants the best for you and your loved one. This could be a friend, family member, church leader, or a professional therapist. Having someone not emotionally involved can help with perspective, or just give comfort with a listening ear.
  5. Stay Connected
    1. Make sure you are connecting with your loved one who is struggling as much as possible, even in the smallest of ways. Just because the illness is a hard thing, shouldn’t take a way good times you can have together.
  6. Take Time Out for Yourself
    1. You can’t take care of anyone when you aren’t taking care of yourself first. When you are constantly trying to nurture your loved one, sometimes it’s easy to forget about ourselves. Schedule time to do something you love every day or every week. Read a book, go for a walk, watch a movie, do your nails, do whatever helps you release stress and makes you happy so you can be the best version of yourself for your loved one.
  7. Be Grateful
    1. Reflect on all that you have that you can be grateful for. Even in the darkest of times dealing with mental illness and helping someone with it there are many blessings we have. If you’re having a hard time finding things to be grateful for, just look at the little things like fresh running water, a warm home, and food to fill you up.
  8. Eat a Healthy Diet
    1. Remember to health healthy by incorporating a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins in your diet. Eating a balanced diet consistently will help with your own personal mood and outlook on life.
  9. Exercise
    1. Research shows that exercising, even the smallest amount can help reduce stress. If you don’t have time to do a long workout, look for ways to get small amounts of exercise in every day.
  10. Don’t Worry About What Others are thinking
    1. Many people don’t know what you and your loved one are going through. Don’t take their lack of knowledge personally. You know yourself and your loved one better than those outside of the situation.
  11. Help to Diffuse the Mental Illness Stigma
    1. You have a lot of knowledge about the mental illness you and your loved one are dealing with. Use that knowledge to educate and inform others who don’t fully know about the illness.
  12. Continue with Your Spiritual Practice
    1. Having spiritual tools that you can constantly refer to helps in sudden times of hard ache.
  To read the full article by Debra Sansing Woods visit http://www.ldsliving.com/12-Ways-to-Care-for-Yourself-While-Caring-for-Someone-with-Mental-Illness/s/79462 If you would like to set up an appointment with one of our trained therapist at Solace Emotional Health, please call our office at 801-785-8885.