I Can’t Afford Therapy, What Now?
There are a few pretty widespread affordable therapy options out there: Talk Space, Open Path, Better Help, etc. But, if your pockets look anything like mine, you still can’t afford them. While paying $30 to $70 a week is an enormous decrease in price, it can still cost up to $300 a month, which is just an extra bill that many can’t afford. In some cases, healthcare will cover therapy and mental health services, but I know that I can’t afford healthcare and I’m sure many other can’t either. So, what do you do when you can’t afford therapy, but you don’t want your mental health to climb aboard a sinking ship?
Meditation can be made out to seem like something that you can only do if you’re skilled and I have no idea why this is. Some people meditate with music or crystals or chanting, none of this is necessary. Meditation is simply being alone with your mind. Meditation has been proven to decrease anxiety, improve memory, and improve academic performance when people meditate for just ten minutes a day. I think that meditating without a goal in mind is better when you’re first starting out. After all, you’ve just met meditation and you’re getting to know her. After getting familiar with meditation, you may find that you get certain things from it and want to capitalize on those things and this will help to set your goals.
Be selfish with your time, energy and presence. Understand and identify the things that are draining you and minimize contact with those things. Your friends may be draining you, your job may be draining you, even the things that you love doing may be draining you. While I understand that you can’t just quit a job because it’s draining, you can limit your contact with co-workers and work situations outside of work. This is involved with setting boundaries (which we’ll get into later) and will help you decide where to siphon your time/energy and for how long.
Watch Your Surroundings
What is your environment like? Who/what is surrounding you and how are they impacting your mental space? It is okay to leave a party or gathering, if it is giving you anxiety or making you uncomfortable. It is okay to tell people that you need time to take care of your mental health. If the people involve care about your well-being, they will understand.
Make and Meet Goals
Improving your mental health is no easy feat. It takes lots of hard work and persistence in order to make lasting change and improvement. Part of improving is knowing what improvement looks like to you. Does it mean that you get out of bed at a certain time every day? Does it mean that you document your moods and potential triggers? What ever improvement is, break it up into tangible goals and reward yourself when you meet those goals.
You have to know your limits. Part of improving your mental health is knowing your limits and working to push them in ways that will help you improve. But constantly doing things that put you in uncomfortable situations wont necessarily make things better and can even make things worse. Don’t be afraid to step away from people and situations when they get to be too much.
Your own mental health plan should not be a therapy replacement, but sometimes it has to be.