A few weeks back I shared tips for anyone currently going through CBT therapy and today I’m back to talk about how you can keep calm and positive between sessions. When you’re really poorly just one or two weeks between therapy sessions can feel like an unbearably long time. I remember feeling comparatively safe or comforted whilst in my therapists’s office but the very minute I walked outside waves of Anxiety would rush back over me and the week before the next session would stretch out long and frightening in front of me. So how can we keep as well as possible between visits?
Get good support
Wherever possible surround yourself with understanding and supportive friends, family and colleagues. They will keep you as safe and well as possible during the acute stages of your illness.
Take it one moment at a time
This golden rule was the backbone of my whole recovery. Every time I thought too far into the future (which could have been as little as a few days) I would feel overwhelmed by panic and fear. It took some practice but learning to take life one hour at a time brought a lot of relief, and you can build up the time you focus on as your health improves.
Absolutely vital to a good recovery is finding out what makes you tick and doing more of it! What tasks or experiences bring you comfort or relief? Self-care is completely individual to everyone but often includes some kind of creative pursuit that is both complex enough to occupy the mind but repetitive or simple enough to encourage relaxation. Find lots of self-care ideas here and here.
Distract yourself in whatever ways your particular brand of Anxiety or Depression will allow. When I was struggling with PND & Anxiety my preferred method of distraction was to attend lots of baby classes with my son and visit friends and family often. If you can, try to plan one small thing each week that you can look forward to even the tiniest bit.
Track your feelings
This is by far the most helpful tip I can share. When I was poorly I had countless notebooks where I would track my mood, write down affirmations, track my progress and practice gratitude journaling. Anxiety is a tricky little monster and the way you feel during recovery can be constantly changing, making it helpful to track the positive moments or to accurately capture the fears and worries you wish to bring up with your therapist at your next session.
Nowadays, I wouldn’t need a notebook as I’ve just found out about an app called Therachat. The app offers a daily schedule of trackers including triggers, sleep, self-care, gratitude journaling and mood/emotion tracking. There is also an open journaling option which would have been fantastic for me as writing was an enormous part of the self-help portion of my recovery.
There is then a library section which offers lots of other journaling options such as reflection on self-confidence, physical health, positivity activities, interests & hobbies, reframing negative thoughts and lots more. It gives you access to everything you need in one place and would have saved me a lot of trouble searching through notebooks or endless entries on my phone’s note section.
The app is visually pleasant and the layout very easy to use, which is really important when you’re not feeling great. And it can even connect with your therapist if they sign up too (more on that another time).
I’ll be back next week to share loads more information about the Therachat app, and to go in more details about what it can offer both patients and therapists, but if you’d like to find out more visit their website here or search for ‘therachat’ in your device’s app store.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Therachat, words and opinions are all my own.