Letting the little things go reduced my stress level. It was part of simplifying my life. What do I mean by letting the little things go? These little things are minor issues that take up time and add to the stress. Many things I considered to be problems, upon further thought turned out to be inconsequential. I looked at the little things that normally upset me like a messy room, milk left out of the refrigerator, someone cutting me off in traffic, and being kept waiting. I realized there were much more important things that I should be spending my time and energy on so I dropped these issues that were minor in the scheme of things, and I saved my energy for serious issues.
Humor is a great stress reliever. You might think there is nothing funny about mental illness and you would be mostly correct. However, being able to release stress by seeing some humor or irony in some of the situations that occur, helps keep things real. I’m not sure how to explain exactly what I mean, but one example would be the “Stand-Up-For-Mental-Health” program which teaches people with lived experience of mental health problems to perform stand-up comedy. “Google” the program website and watch some of the performances. My daughter did the program and along with others performed in front of over two-hundred people. This performance was instrumental in increasing her self-esteem and confidence. The ability to laugh at herself has made a big difference in her life.
Getting help for myself was key to me being able to put things in perspective and handle the stress involved when caring for a person with mental illness. If I had gone along without getting help and becoming involved, then I would not be in the position that I am now, where I am able to help other people. Help for me was family support meetings and taking courses to learn about mental health and self-care. I learned I was not alone and there is no shame in leaning on others for help through difficult times. Most people take great pleasure from being able to help.