4 essential steps to start coping today

Living with motor function disorders is difficult. Lacking physical autonomy, daily tasks are difficult, and frustration abounds. Thus, learning what you can do mentally and physically to help yourself manage symptoms and feel more at ease is essential.



**Disclaimer: By no means is the content on my website a substitute for a professional diagnosis or medical treatment. All of the information on this website is simply a reflection of my own personal experiences and the methods I have used to manage my tics and compulsions. The purpose of Mindful Coping is not to provide professional advice or endorse any treatments, medications or procedures. A licensed medical practitioner is the only person who can diagnose you with a mental illness, but regardless of whether or not you live with mental illnesses, I hope this blog can help you develop healthy habits to prioritize mindful wellness.

1) Figure out what makes you tic. For some, it's stress. For others, it's sugary foods. Each person deals with tics differently, and identifying possible sources of enhanced stress on your mental condition is crucial to start your healthier lifestyle. A good rule of thumb to begin searching for tic "triggers" is to start altering your habits one by one. It doesn't have to be as drastic as transforming your entire diet, but it should be simple and most importantly, manageable. Strategies are useless if they are unsustainable and transitory. Things I've tried are:

1) Cutting processed sugar intake
2) Adherence to a regular sleep schedule of seven to eight hours
3) Regular exercise
4) Healthy levels of screen time on mobile device

**Please check out my other blog posts for details on each of these lifestyle changes. This post is simply an introduction into getting proactive with regards to your condition.**

2) Be patient. If you're here, you must be aware that tics are not consistent. They are a different beast for every individual, which is why patience is key. There is no panacea or foolproof "cure" for any mental illness. But frustration will only exacerbate your stress and anguish, which can be detrimental to your health, both physical and mental. I'm not telling you to maintain a perfect, positive outlook on life; in fact, it's perfectly normal to occasionally feel hopeless and depressed, but don't let those emotions stop you from being who you are and doing what you need to do. There will be therapy sessions you attend, medications you take, or online remedies you find that might not work how you would have liked. Regardless, continuing to try different, healthy coping strategies is important to pinpoint the things that work, or don't work.

3) Step back. It's cliché, but take deep breaths. Sometimes, you need to simply stop whatever you are doing: class assignments, paperwork, physical activities, etc. to relax and put things in perspective. Take just ten seconds to inhale and exhale deeply. Do a butterfly scan. If you've been working at your desk all day, step outside. Enjoy the fresh air. Not only will it give your aching muscles a break, but it will give you an opportunity to clear your mind and filter out the negative thoughts.

4) Rethink your priorities. Let it guide you to discover what is really important in your life.

Consider the following:

"Is what I am doing right now going to sacrifice my mental health in any way? If so, is this task absolutely necessary, or must I stop what I'm doing and breathe?"

It's crucial to learn how to prioritize your health before all other things. As a busy high school student involved in several extra-curricular activities, this is something with which I've struggled deeply. I would put off my mental health until I reached a breaking point, often experiencing new, heightened symptoms that would last for weeks. I learned the hard way that you cannot take a last minute approach to your health. It should always be your first and foremost priority.

When you feel a relapse of severity coming your way, that is your body telling you that something needs to change. I can't emphasize enough that you can't expect to overcome your condition if you leave it on the back-burner. For many others and myself, it is often unchecked stress and anxiety that causes new symptoms to arise. Regardless, you absolutely need to discover what is triggering your condition. Remember that tics and OCD crave attention. They will find any way to manifest in the most untimely situations, and preventive measures are key to cope in the long run.

Hopefully, these 4 tips can help you get on track to coping with your illness. Stay positive and hopeful throughout; by being here, you have already taken huge strides and important steps towards health and happiness. Please stay tuned for more posts where I will outline more specific techniques and strategies I have employed!

Please contact me at rhys.mindfulcoping@gmail.com to share your experiences, tips, techniques, or even just say hello!

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