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105 Mental Health Recovery Tools

Hi everyone! Below is a huge list of things that have helped me along the way to improve my mental health. This is compiled from years and years of recovery and therapy so I hope you don’t feel overwhelmed by this list but that it gives you some new ideas/tools that may be helpful for you.





Remember that full recovery and freedom is possible!

Eating disorder

  1. Getting connected with a therapist and dietitian specialized in eating disorders

  2. Following my meal plan 100%

  3. Attending support groups to keep myself accountable

  4. Regularly having dessert

  5. Eating a wide variety of foods

  6. Knowing no foods are good or bad

  7. Colleen Christensen’s intuitive eating affirmations

  8. Eating my challenge foods- having someone there to eat them with me

  9. Creating vision boards- what I wanted for my future to motivate me to recover

  10. Self compassion

  11. Treating myself like a friend/daughter- loving kindness

  12. Body gratitude

  13. Unfollowing fitness accounts/runners on instagram

  14. Books- Goodbye Ed hello me by Jenni Schafer, Life without Ed by Jenni Schafer, Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, The Intuitive Eating Workbook by Evelyn Tribole, Sick Enough by Jennifer L. Gaudiani, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin

  15. Podcasts- The Appetite a podcast by Opal Food and Body Wisdom, Girls Night by Stephanie May Wilson, Wonderfully Made

  16. Finding Balance‘s free courses and email devotional

  17. Ultimate training academy virtual camp

  18. Neutral statements about my body (these are my legs, these are my arms; not labeling or judging or commenting on my body shape or size)

  19. Self acceptance

  20. Acceptance (I may not like this situation or be ok with it but it is what it is)

  21. Treating my body image like Wikipedia (no offense to Wikipedia!) but seeing my personal body image as an unreliable source and not trusting it (ie. seeing myself as “too big” and recognizing that my personal body image is not a reliable source of information so discrediting the thought)

  22. Getting rid of my scale

  23. Blind weigh ins (facing backwards so I wouldn’t see the number)

  24. Deleting calorie counting apps

  25. Not counting calories

  26. Going out to restaurants with family/friends

  27. Taking a LONG break from running

  28. Learning about joyful movement and intuitive movement

  29. Buying clothes that fit

  30. Getting rid of clothes that no longer fit

  31. Knowing that chafing, cellulite, and stretch marks are all very normal

  32. Taking unplanned rest days

  33. Watching Recovered Living videos on youtube

  34. Making a recovery contract

Faith-based

  1. Diving deeper into my faith and developing a personal relationship with Christ

  2. Attending Church

  3. Joining a small group Bible study

  4. Learning my identity in Christ

  5. Joining a Christian organization on campus

  6. Prayer

  7. Reading the Bible

  8. Surrendering my identity as having an eating disorder to the Lord

  9. Memorizing/re-reading Bible verses

  10. Attending retreats

  11. Books- Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequest, Discerning the Voice of God by Priscella Shirer

  12. Podcasts- The Porch

  13. Knowing my worth and value are constant and infinite

OCD/Social anxiety

  1. Learning ERP (exposure and response prevention)

  2. Tracking bans (submits and resists)

  3. Maybe, maybe not. Ex: Intrusive thought about an illness being on a surface; maybe I’ll get sick from touching this surface, maybe I won’t

  4. Uncertainty tolerance

  5. Attending free support groups at Rogers

  6. Resisting compulsions/urges or trying to delay them

  7. “I embrace this opportunity to face my fear, I can cope with discomfort”

  8. Completing the LSAS (social anxiety questionnaire) and YBOCS (OCD questionnaire) every couple of months to monitor progress/slips

  9. “I REFUSE to live in a bubble. I refuse to cut out things that I think will kill me in the future- which would eventually be everything. I refuse to spend my life trying so hard protecting myself from dying at the cost of actually living and being free.”

Generalized anxiety

  1. Mindfulness

  2. 54321 grounding method- 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can feel, 1 thing you can taste

  3. Distress tolerance- STOP

  4. Focus on my breath

  5. Diffusion, labeling/naming the thought (I’m having a thought about…)

Depression

  1. Setting a timer- when struggling to do something or to stop crying setting a timer for 5 or 10 minutes to feel sad then needing to get up and do something

  2. Being with others, even if it means crying in front of them, just so you aren’t alone

  3. Behavioral activation- forcing myself to do things that I had previously enjoyed even if I didn’t

  4. Getting out of the house and going to do something- walk around hobby lobby, sit outside

PMDD

  1. Creating a safety plan to maintain safety in the event of suicidal ideation (coping tools, remaining with a trusted individual, calling a clinic hotline)

  2. Recognizing these thoughts and feelings will be over in a few days

  3. Writing down reasons to stay alive

  4. Learning more about PMDD

  5. Taking an antidepressant

  6. Decreasing my stress levels throughout the month

Self care ideas

  1. Coloring/painting/drawing

  2. Journal

  3. Listen to music

  4. Meditation

  5. Read a book for fun

  6. Watch a funny youtube video

  7. Watch a show or movie on netflix

  8. Take a long hot shower

  9. Paint my nails

General ideas/fit under multiple categories

  1. Daily gratitude

  2. Celebrate each success/step in the right direction no matter how small

  3. Take an extended break from social media

  4. Art therapy

  5. Attending a Living Grace Group- Christ-centered mental health recovery group

  6. Spending time with friends/prioritizing relationships

  7. Doing something that brings you joy each day

  8. Realistic self talk

  9. Getting enough sleep, listening to Abide guided Bible sleep meditations if difficult to fall asleep

  10. Being vulnerable

  11. Trying new things

  12. Journaling about what I wanted my life to look like in 10 years

  13. Embracing/welcoming feelings and experiences

  14. Finding stillness

  15. Improving my assertiveness

  16. Using a feeling wheel to better identify how I’m feeling

  17. Be myself- Fearlessly authentic

  18. Thought challenging

  19. Doing things alone, improving in my ability to be independent

  20. Spending money on myself/buying myself things

  21. Staying on campus on the weekends

  22. When my mind is racing or I can’t decide what to do- Asking myself what is my job right now? Ex: Right now my job is to sleep or right now my job is to listen to this lecture.

  23. Problem solving- Can I solve this? Is now the right time? If yes to both proceed, if no to one = not yet.

  24. Being present in my life

  25. Journal about my dreams and hopes for the future

I hope this list gives you some extra tools to help you in your journey.


With love,

Megan


Philippians 4:13– I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Psalm 55:22– Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

John 1:5- The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Isaiah 40:29– He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.


 

Megan Ludke is a woman of God, Founder and Executive Director of Live RecoverED (formerly RecoverED Athletes), a school-based physical therapist, and a current PSU graduate student (M.Ed. Health Education & Promotion concentration in Eating Disorders). She is recovered from anorexia, orthorexia, depression, OCD, and social anxiety. Megan is deeply passionate about her work at Live RecoverED, having felt the pain and darkness of struggling with an eating disorder. When not working, Megan loves spending time with her boyfriend and family and loves being outside- hiking or reading in a hammock.

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