'The start is what stops most people.'

I have found that having routine can really help with well-being and recovery.  I get up at more or less the same time every day and have a good breakfast (usually porridge and banana and nuts) within ten minutes of waking and it gets me ready for the day.  Before I used to press snooze on my alarm until the last possible minute and leave the house for whatever I needed to do that day in a mad rush.  This would then have an effect on my mood and anxiety and by the time I got to where I was going, I was already stressed out. Another benefit of getting up early is that if you enjoy exercising you can get that out of the way as well, so you don’t have it hanging over you for the rest of the day.  I find I’m more likely to say no to going gym after a busy day but in the morning, I have no excuses.

When possible and if I have enough time, I try to walk places or even cycle if the weathers nice.  I think it is important to breathe as much fresh air as possible during the day.  I’m fortunate to have a dog who always needs walking so this helps.  I love a tea or a coffee, but I always try and keep an eye on how much I am drinking as I know having loads of caffeine can lead to anxiety which can also lead to cravings.  I try not to have more than two coffees a day and maybe a tea in the afternoon.  Everyone is different but I think it important to know your limits. There’s nothing worse than having something really important to do and not being able to keep calm and sit still because you have had too much caffeine.

One thing that really helped me cure boredom and loneliness in the evening was cooking.  When I got out of treatment, I didn’t have much money and I used to get cravings from sitting indoors watching tv.  If you go online or even look in the newspaper, they often have some really cheap meals you can cook for under five pounds.  I found it really calming to just go to the shops with a list then go home with fresh ingredients and get it all ready.  I found chopping the vegetables really therapeutic and often id get a feeling of satisfaction when something comes out really nice. Also, I’d make sure I had some left over for lunch next day or to put in freezer for a rainy day so would be good value for money.  I try not to eat late as I find I sleep a lot better and wake up the next day feeling more refreshed.  Sleep is one of the most important things and having a good routine including exercise, set meal times and fresh air can make a difference.  Also easy on the caffeine it can make a big difference to your sleep.

Another thing that I try to do is keep myself organised and keep my living space tidy. Its sometimes easier said than done but if you have a tidy room/flat it often can make your head feel a lot clearer and less stressed.  Having a diary helps to try and plan things out and keep active.  Even if you think you have nothing much to do you can plan things to do to fill up the time. E.g. Walking, exercise, going to meetings, cooking, volunteering and looking for work.

Sam Taylor 

Service Manager 

Harrow, Build On Belief