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Self Help

Mental health is essential to overall well-being. Recovery from a mental health issue is a process that involves developing hope, self direction, empowerment, respect and peer support. Often, you may also benefit from having a professional to work closely with you to guide you on your recovery, but there are also mental health self help tools you can use to help you manage your symptoms and get unstuck.

While recovering from a mental health challenge, there are several things you can do to reduce the overall impact of its symptoms on your life.

Try to work these into your daily routine:

  • Walk, jog, or workout within your current physical limits—Physical activity can improve your mood and help you sleep better
  • Eat healthy meals regularly—Good nutrition helps your body and your mind
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep—Getting quality sleep can help you feel better
  • Practice relaxation techniques—Meditation, prayer, or a hobby can help you focus your mind

Try to avoid unhealthy ways of coping—they may actually make your situation worse:

  • Limit how much and how often you drink alcohol
  • Avoid illegal drug use
  • Take prescription or over-the-counter medications only as directed by your doctor
  • Avoid risky behavior, such as gambling and reckless driving

There are also some specific skills you can practice that will help you cope with challenging situations:

  • Use grounding and relaxation techniques—A shower, deep breathing, or time in a quiet place to collect your thoughts can help relieve stress and get you through difficult moments
  • Be aware of your triggers and make a plan for how to handle them
  • Take advantage of online tools and mobile apps to check yourself and guide you through steps you can take right away to manage what you’re experiencing

Reach out to your family, friends, or fellow Veterans to help you feel less isolated and improve your overall well-being:

  • Participate in clubs or hobbies focused on something that you like
  • Connect with Veterans’ groups or other social organizations
  • Volunteer or help in your community—Recognize that you have valuable experiences and abilities that can make a difference in the lives of others
  • Talk to other Veterans or friends and family with experiences similar to yours

Be willing to let others know how you feel and ask for support. Make sure you seek advice for any issues that are affecting your health, daily activities, or relationships. Consider connecting with:

  • Your family doctor: Ask if your doctor has experience treating Veterans or can refer you to someone who does
  • A mental health professional, such as a therapist
  • Your local VA Medical Center or Vet Center: VA specializes in the care and treatment of Veterans
  • A spiritual or religious advisor
Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 Logo: Moving Forward.  Overcoming Life's Challenges