4-H Club: Health

Health is another important ingredient in your recovery. Here, I am talking about the physical, mental, and social aspects of health. Let’s take these in order.

Physical health can be difficult for a person with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia to maintain; however, please do your best with this one. Physical health can be achieved through tangible means, and oftentimes, something tangible or measurable can be the basis for good health. For example, you can measure a one-mile walk, twenty push-ups, and the number of pieces of fruit you eat a day. If you smoke, you can also count the number of cigarettes you put down in a day and perhaps make a goal of reducing that amount. Those are tangible and easy to recognize. Don’t underestimate the power of these contributors to health.

Mental health is a bit more difficult to measure, but it isn’t impossible to do so. You can start by accounting for the medicines you take and how much sleep you get. More subjective measures of mental health include rating your moods on a scale of 1-10. Were you feeling especially perky today? Maybe you would rate your mood a nine! Or perhaps, you weren’t having such a great day and you rate this day a three. Also, some folks like to meditate and keeping track of how long you meditate can be helpful in quantifying and keeping up with your practice. Regardless, keeping a chart of some or all of these suggestions can be helpful. And, if you are really ambitious, you can graph that chart and show it to your treatment team to let them know how you are doing.

Social health is the most difficult aspect of health to measure, at least in my opinion. You might get creative and account for the number of minutes (or hours) you spend socializing a week. You might even come up with a scoring system to rate the quality of your social encounters.

Regardless of how you measure physical, mental, and social health (or even if you don’t measure them at all), they are important factors in your recovery. Please, do your best to cultivate them and integrate them into your daily or weekly life.





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