When caring for a person with a mental illness, you have to care for yourself too. Make time for a healthy lifestyle and to relax as it prevents you from burn-out, which impacts negatively on the issues that your partner, family member, or friend already faces and reverses the efforts that you have made. Deliberately plan ahead to schedule time for pleasant activities that you can enjoy by yourself or with the other person.
Keep a balance between work and routine tasks, caring for others, and relaxing. Think about what makes you happy; make a list and then focus on ways to work one or two into your daily routine each day. Also, plan activities that you and your partner, family, or friends can do together. This will distract someone from their mental health issues, relaxes you and him/her, and improve your relationship. After all, a trusting relationship is key to any caregiving and recovery efforts!
Practical Exercises: Session 4
The two practical activities are designed to help you plan, organize, and balance your activities. The first activity sheet explores typical events that trigger your partner, family member, or friend’s symptoms and how you can best deal with it. You will use the second activity sheet to plan pleasant activities and monitor the level of enjoyment.
Using the worksheet below, take a few minutes and list those situations or events that most often precede the negative symptoms of your partner, family member, or friend. Also, think of specific places, things, and people that are involved. Learning to avoid or cope with these triggers can be an effective way to reduce the occurrence of symptoms. Think about changes needed to achieve positive changes.
Download and print worksheet here: Identify and Explore Stress Triggers
The second exercise involves scheduling a daily activity diary. Take some time to plan your activities for the week ahead. Make sure to include pleasant activities for yourself and your partner, family member, or friend each day, or as regularly as possible, even if it is just a relaxing and quiet moment together. Afterward, rate your experience of enjoyment for each, also noting the effect on the other person (E, from 0-not at all, to 10-a lot).
Download and print Daily Activity Diary sheet here: Daily Activity Diary
What comes next?
In session 5, we look at the concept of mindfulness and how being mindful helps you and your partner, family member, or friend with caring and recovery.