Self-Management Strategies to Deal With Difficulties
When going through a rough patch, it can be helpful to take meaningful action to improve your situation. Here are examples of strategies to help you get there.
To try to understand what you're experiencing
Noting or paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours can help you better understand which situations you feel comfortable in and which ones you find more challenging. It can also help you identify what makes you feel better and reduce stress.
Learning about mental health disorders from credible sources (e.g., on the Internet or TV, by reading, or by attending conferences or workshops) can help familiarize you with the warning signs, making it easier to recognize symptoms and act faster when they appear. It can also give you a better understanding of what you are going through and provide tips and tools for taking care of yourself and making yourself feel better.
You don’t have to have a mental health disorder or a clear picture of your needs to see a mental health professional (e.g., a psychologist, social worker, psychotherapist, sexologist, or occupational therapist). Mental health professionals can help you identify your needs, provide personalized support, and refer you to the most appropriate resource for your situation.
Community organizations across Quebec offer mental health assistance, including a variety of services such as one-on-one support, telephone counselling, support groups, housing, and more. They often specialize in specific mental health issues and are generally free of charge and run by professional counsellors. Contacting one of these organizations can be a good way to find help.
Consulting a healthcare professional can help improve or protect your physical and mental health. Healthcare professionals can discuss your situation with you, assess your health, and propose treatment that’s tailored to your needs.
If your doctor or psychiatrist prescribes medication, it’s because they consider it can help you combat unwanted thoughts, emotions, or behaviours. Such medications are prescribed because their effectiveness has been proven in scientific studies. In order to be effective, medication must be taken at the recommended dosage.
Complementary therapies (e.g., art therapy, light therapy, or acupuncture) can promote well-being, reduce stress, and help release emotional tension. Some of them can also help manage seasonal depression, insomnia, and other problems. You may want to explore a range of therapies to find what works for you.
To deal with what is not going so well
Working on your outlook and how you talk to yourself can help you feel better. By being kinder to yourself, focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, and seeking out the positive in what you’re going through, you leave less room for negative thoughts. The result is an improved sense of competence and well-being.
Anxiety often causes people to avoid their fears. But avoidance isn’t a sustainable solution because it feeds anxiety. Trying to face and confront your fears can help you find strategies to manage anxiety and reduce stress.
To solve a problem, it can be helpful to approach it one step at a time, starting by asking questions to define what the problem is. What’s bothering me? How did this problem come about? What situation do I want to resolve? Is it my problem? This step can help you change your outlook and go a long way to resolving the issue. Answering these questions will make it easier to identify possible solutions and pick one to implement.
To stay vigilant to the risks of a relapse
Protecting your mental health is an ongoing job. You may need to combine several strategies to regain your balance and keep using them to maintain your well-being. In order to avoid relapses, it’s important to keep doing things that make you feel better, even when things are calmer.
Learning to recognize the signs of a crisis or depression allows you to quickly implement strategies to prevent a relapse. It can be helpful to examine your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours from time to time, even when things are calmer.
Stepping back from a disturbing event can help change the way you see a problem (e.g. take situations with a grain of salt or take time to think). The further you step back, the easier it is to calm down and think clearly about how to react. It can help you reduce stress, think more positively, and feel better.
There are other strategies you can use to find inspiration for good lifestyle habits.