Journey to Mental Health Recovery

7 Little Things That Can Have a Big Effect on Your Mental Health

Published 5 days ago • 2 min read

I want to share an inspiring personal journey of overcoming severe depression and schizophrenia, managing PTSD, and finding a path to mental well-being. Through trial and error, education, and common sense, I've discovered what it takes to stay healthy, and I adhere to this formula rigorously. Here are some steps that you can take to improve your mental health today.

1. Discover True Friends

When struggling with mental health, you quickly learn who your real friends are. If you have a few loved ones you trust, they will support you through the toughest times. My partner and my mum have been my rocks. Even when I could hardly get out of bed, they were there. My mum’s nightly walks with me and our dog were therapeutic, and my partner’s unwavering support during panic attacks was invaluable. Building and maintaining these relationships is crucial, as we aren’t meant to navigate this world alone.

2. Embrace the Outdoors

Getting outside has been incredibly beneficial for my mental health. I don’t live in a picturesque wilderness; suburbia is my home. Yet, even in this concrete jungle, fresh air and the occasional bird song uplift my spirits. If you live in a beautiful area, take full advantage of it. And if not, seek out green spaces whenever possible. Being outside, even in a less-than-ideal environment, can significantly enhance your well-being.

3. Prioritize Sleep

Contrary to what productivity “gurus” preach, sleep is non-negotiable for mental health. I’ve experienced the extremes of both too little and too much sleep, and neither is sustainable. Now, I ensure I get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. Find a sleep schedule that works for you and stick to it. Ignore anyone who claims that success requires sacrificing sleep – it's simply not true.

4. Exercise: A Game Changer

After a two-year battle with Long Covid, I recently returned to working out. Although it’s been challenging, the mental benefits are undeniable. Exercise clears my mind, enhances my discipline, and leaves me feeling refreshed. If you haven’t been active, start small. The difference it makes is profound – you don’t know what you’re missing until you experience it.

5. Value Comfort

Having endured extreme discomfort as a police officer, I now cherish comfort. Comfortable surroundings and sensations help ground me in the present and remind me that those dark times are behind me. While some advocate for stepping out of the comfort zone, I believe it’s essential to balance this with moments of peace and security. You’ve earned the right to live comfortably.

6. Stay Vigilant

My past experiences have instilled a sense of vigilance in me. Whether it’s choosing a safe home or always being aware of my surroundings, this mindset helps me feel secure. It may seem paranoid, but it’s a necessary precaution given the dangers I’ve witnessed. Feeling safe at home and in public is crucial for mental peace.

7. Find Your Purpose

Losing my job as a police officer led to a decade-long depression, primarily because I felt purposeless. However, discovering new passions, like stock market trading and writing, transformed my life. Finding a purpose is essential for mental health. Explore new interests and be open to unexpected opportunities – they can lead to profound fulfillment.

Take Action Today

When facing mental health challenges, even small steps can make a big difference. Many of these suggestions are passive – let loved ones care for you, prioritize sleep, and spend time outside. Allow comfort into your life and be open to finding your purpose.

Remember, I’m not extraordinary, yet today I feel better than I have in 20 years. Now, it’s your turn to start your journey towards better mental health.

Stay well,


Journey to Mental Health Recovery

Leon Macfayden

Schizophrenia and PTSD survivor sharing my journey to recovery. Join over 800 subscribers learning to improve their mental health. Every week, I share personal stories and effective tips to help you and your loved ones live the life you deserve.

Share this page