Posted May 28, 2021 by Jonathan Clemente
Enduring the pandemic over the last year or so has been a challenging time for many of us. Regardless of whether you have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition, we all need to look out for our mental health. Below are a few suggestions I have found helpful to my personal well-being that you may find useful as well.
- Avoid isolation, seek out community: Having a community of people to lean on for support has helped my mental health. Living life with a mental health condition is not easy, and it helps me to have others that I engage with socially—whether that means getting a smoothie together, playing a game of chess, playing music together, creating art or just talking about life.
- It helps to have a friend who understands: The peer movement is a powerful force, and I have gotten a lot of comfort from building a support network of friends who also have lived experience with a mental health condition. Friends can be found through a 12-step fellowship, a NAMI support group, the Magnolia Clubhouse, through a class or a spiritual community.
- Get good rest and try to stay away from alcohol and substance use: I have found that substance use can aggravate my psychosis and lead to mental health symptoms. Also, substances are generally discouraged from being mixed with most psychiatric medicines. Sleep is also a powerful medicine, and I have found that cutting corners on proper rest can also lead to symptoms.
- Having a spiritual anchor can be helpful: Not everyone has the same faith background or interest in spirituality, but I have found that having a relationship with a higher power has been a powerful source of consolation. Having a daily prayer regimen has helped ground me in reflecting on something bigger than myself. Church has been a place to meet others, build relationships and grow spiritually. Nature can also be a powerful place to engage in spiritual growth. Being near the lake or taking a walk on a nature path can be a renewing spiritual experience.
Jonathan Clemente serves as a peer support specialist with Catholic Charities and a consultant with Northeast Ohio Medical University. As a peer support specialist, Jonathan utilizes his lived experience recovering from serious mental illness (SMI) and psychosis to mentor other individuals who have recently experienced their first episode of psychosis (FEP). In addition to these roles, Jonathan also has a passion for the visual arts and received his bachelor in fine arts in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys playing chess, a good cappuccino, and socializing with friends and family.
If you or someone you know are experiencing difficulties with mental health or substance abuse, Catholic Charities is here to help. Click here to learn more.