It might be helpful to think of it as a maintenance programme – you need to keep a watch on your general mood and be ready for times when you start to feel low or stressed.
This is true for everyone, because we all come up against difficult times in our lives and we all need to know how to respond and cope with stress.
Think about the things you do to:
- Keep yourself well?
- Help yourself feel better when you don’t feel well?
We’ve put together a mood menu of things that help people feel OK. Download the mood menu (PDF file).
Write your own mood menu, and keep it where you’ll see it when you feel low or stressed.
- Things I need to do every day
- Things I need to do - but not every day
Keep them short and achievable. For example: if when you feel unwell, you neglect yourself, you could write down “brush my teeth twice a day”.
Don’t give yourself too many things to do each day.
If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, just start again the next day.
Having a goal can keep you motivated. Visit our community section to see what goals other people set and set your own.
Know how far you can go before what you’re doing starts to take a toll on your health. For example:
- How much overtime can you do?
- How much money can you spend?
- How often can you stay out late?
- How much coffee can you drink?
Be clear about how you expect to be treated in your relationships with other people.
This is often a case of trial and error. You’ll probably overstep your limits some of the time! Don’t worry: it’s all about learning what works for you.
Think of other possible risk factors that might cause low mood. These may be things like using drugs a lot or drinking too much, not eating enough, having sex with strangers or having unprotected sex.
Don't bottle things up for too long. You don’t need to tell everyone how you are feeling, but having one or two people you trust who you can turn to when you need to can be really helpful.
They don’t need to counsel you – just ask them to do something with you, like going to the movies, meeting for a drink, going shopping, whatever it is that you will enjoy and help to reduce stress.