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  • Writer's pictureJust Jack Counselling Services

Do It Yourself

One of the ways I manage my own mental health is doing DIY projects around the house and garden.

Having projects to keep me physically and mentally challenged (when the mood allows) has been a vital key to not losing my shit.

Throughout Covid Lock-down I messed about with pallet wood in the back garden, just for something to do and ended up building seating, decking (for the hot tub), a dog kennel and even a shed. The reason I chose pallet wood is I like to up-cycle and I am constantly thinking before I take something to the tip if I can reuse it in anyway?

Materials can be expensive so up-cycling something I already have just makes sense and if it goes wrong then I haven't really spent much money other than a tin of paint or something so I'm not stressing about finances.

Now I should say at this point that I'm certainly no builder, carpenter or painter however that don't stop me giving things ago, with the guided help of YouTube and also asking those in the know, family, mates work colleagues etc. Obviously know your limits but you'll also be surprised what you can actually achieve if you just give it some thought and take your time.

Benefits include:

  • Challenging your mind

  • Sense of achievement

  • Mindfulness

  • Problem solving

  • Sense of pride

  • Interacting with others

  • Relieves Stress

  • Kills boredom

  • Builds Confidence

  • and so much more

It can be anything from baking a cake to building things, the important thing here isn't what I actually do but to just actually do something. Sitting around doing nothing or staying in bed often makes me feel so much worse and takes longer to change my mood although sometimes this really can't be helped and that's ok but when I am feeling up to it, I push myself to get my ass up and do something, it doesn't have to be a perfect job, it doesn't even have to be a good job as the important thing here is that I get my mind off of the daily shit, the shit that's getting me down and allow myself some time and space to do other stuff.

Now here's my little secret, I always have several projects on the go at any one time, reason for this is so I can do whichever project I "Feel" like at that given time. Reason behind this is if my wife was to nag me telling me to put that shelf up and I did just to please her but I really didn't feel like it at that time then that shelf will take me hours to put up and a feather would knock it down, however if I put that shelf up when I am in the mood then it will fly up in seconds and an elephant couldn't knock it down. Of course this approach only really works if you don't have a nagging wife, thankfully my wife doesn't pressure me or nag me to do anything, which makes me actually "want" to do these things so its a win win.

I work with my moods and not against them, having several projects on the table allows for me to chose what I want to do, what I feel like doing and if I don't want or feel like doing any of them then that's ok too as they will still be there when that changes.

Many therapists will tell you not to make lists as it can cause you stress, however considering my memory isn't the best nowadays I like making lists.

I have adopted a list strategy since working in Veteran Support work years ago and it works for me.

On my mobile I have a several list's for several things, I find it very useful when out and about to quickly add something to whichever list, for me to look at later when I have more time, this way that thought isn't stressing me out or bouncing around in my head, I can deal with it later when I decide to, this also works if I get a intrusive sleep assassin, a thought that has entered my head when trying to sleep.

Being an over-thinker that sleep assassin would bounce around my head for hours preventing me from sleeping, so quickly adding it to my list allows me to forget about it until the morning, and often is the case that come the morning that thought was pretty dumb and can just be deleted, job done.

Important point to remember about lists is that it is YOUR list you own IT and the list doesn't own you. Every smart phone has a "To Do" list feature and unless you set reminders/notifications on the item on your list then it will just sit there in your phone waiting for you, when you decide to look at it, so don't set completion dates unless it really is something you need to do by a given date. I cannot emphasize enough here that YOU control your list, your list doesn't control you and for the purpose of this article your list is a simple project/DIY list of jobs that need fixing/replacing/doing when and if you feel like it.

Mental Health is all around us, always has been and always will be, but so has the ways of managing it but we are becoming such a lazy race with all our gadgets and digital lives that we lose track of the simple things as this digital world has complicated our lives and the human mind is having to process more than ever before, so unplug, switch off and get your head into something simple like a nice simple DIY project to start off with and your more than welcome to stick it on my socials for all to see and be inspired by.

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