It’s no secret to those of us living with anxiety: sometimes our mental health feels like an uphill battle. It can feel as though days, weeks, months—or even longer—can pass without us really gaining any ground, and it’s exhausting.
It is easy to forget we need to be able to distinguish and celebrate the small victories when it comes to our mental health journey. Whether it’s learning something new about yourself, or simply getting out of bed in the morning, it needs to be recognised.
People are always telling us “It gets better,” as though recovering from our anxiety is going to be the defining point in our lives.
They act like everything we do between now and the ever-elusive “then” is somewhat irrelevant. These people don’t send us messages celebrating when we take a phone call without having a panic attack or manage to clean our house without needing a nap. Others usually overlook the small victories in our, and so we often forget to recognise them as well.
The metaphorical “finish line” of our illness is so erratic and ever-changing. Sprinting toward it at full speed with no pit stop to regain our energy and reflect on our progress is a nightmare. We need to learn to take a breather and see just how far we’ve come.
We need to congratulate ourselves for putting in the extra effort and completing the things we find difficult. Sometimes it is merely going grocery shopping, talking to strangers, calming ourselves down, or taking our medication.
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One way to get into the habit of recognising your personal achievements is to make a list each day of three things you want to get done.
These could be as simple as having a shower or as big as finishing an assignment. When you are able to cross each point off your list, congratulate yourself. Reward yourself with your favourite snack or an episode of your favourite TV show. You fought your mental illness to get something achieved and you won. That is an incredible victory.
It’s important to remember everyone experiences their anxiety differently, and one person’s idea of small victories might be entirely different to yours. Take some time to recognise exactly what it is you find difficult or tiring, and focus on those hurdles. Your struggles and your accomplishments are no less important than anyone else’s.
Even though your own small victories may be overlooked by others, don’t allow yourself to let them pass by unrecognised.
Each and every victory is worthy of pride when it comes to your personal journey. Your mental health is one of the most valuable aspects of your entire life; it shapes who you are and how you perceive the world. This makes it worthy of love, respect, and admiration.
Learning to recognise and appreciate the small victories in your mental health journey is a very important step, and the value of it shouldn’t be overlooked. When you are actively realising and appreciating goals and milestones, you become more confident in your abilities and you grow your strength. Each of these steps brings you one step closer to freedom and happiness.
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