I owe a huge chunk of my happiness to therapy and I’m a huge advocate of it. If you can afford it you should definitely get your butt to a therapist. I get mine from BetterHelp these days. I like it because I can set up appointments via skype or phone and I can send texts whenever I want. Even though BetterHelp is an affordable alternative to therapy it’s still expensive though and I know sometimes it’s just not possible to pay for it. Here are some things you can do when you need therapy but you can’t afford it.
This is going to sound a little harsh but you have to take responsibility for your own healing. There are lots of people that are able to recover from mental illness or learn how to manage it even though they can’t afford therapy. You can’t let the fact that you can’t afford to go to therapy be an excuse to stay miserable and do nothing. Even if it’s hard and feels impossible you have to take responsibility for your own journey and make yourself do things every day to improve your mental health. I have a ton of resources and posts about managing depression and anxiety. If you can’t afford therapy you’re going to have to go on this healing journey alone. It will be hard but not only CAN you do it but you MUST do it.
Make a Plan
I’m going to put some ideas for things to try below but they don’t do any good if you don’t make them part of your routine. Make a list of all the things you could do that would improve your life and mental health. Once you have your list make a plan for when you are going to do the activities. How are you going to start building better habits? When are you going to start doing these practices? How are you going to hold yourself accountable? What goals do you have? I am a big fan of challenges to help me kick off new practices and habits. I recently completed a dry-30 challenge and now I am getting ready to do the Last 90-Days challenge. Plan out a challenge for yourself to help you improve your mental health.
Even if you can’t afford a therapist you can still get support. You don’t want to make your friends into your therapist but sometimes when you need a little support you can try reaching out to a friend or a family member. You don’t want to end up always dumping all of your problems onto your friends but if you have a strong friendship it can live through some negativity. Just be aware of how much you pressure you’re putting on your friend. I mostly like to call my friends to talk about positive things to help me get back into a good head space when I’m feeling down. If you’re really struggling you can reach out to friends and family and let them know you are having a hard time. Many people struggle with depression and anxiety but suffer in silence. Once you start sharing your struggles more openly you might be surprised to learn some of your friends and loved ones are having similar issues. I have a podcast episode you can check out all about how to ask for help you can listen to on iTunes or Podbean. If you don’t have friends or family you can reach out to or if you just want to connect with some other amazing women I have a free mental health support group you can join on Facebook. This is a place for people to share their mental health journeys and offer encouragement to other group members. We would love to have you, click here to join.
Journaling can be a great way to work out your feelings when you can’t afford a therapist. Check out the Self Discovery Journal: 100 Days Of Self Exploration: Questions And Prompts That Will Help You Gain Self Awareness In Less Than 10 Minutes A Day and start writing your heart out. Journaling offers you a cheap way to express your feelings without anyone judging you. You can explore all your deepest fears and no one will ever have to know about it. If you can’t afford to go to therapy I think that journaling is a great alternerative. You can even schedule yourself weekly “journal sessions” instead of therapy sessions. Dedicate a specific hour every single week to sit down and really deep dive into your journal the way you woud with a therapist. I have a free workbook of journal prompts you can get by filling out the form below.
I have a whole guide on using affirmations you can check out and you can signup below to receive a free big ass list of affirmations. I use affirmations to help me get my shit together when I’m in a funk and to help me keep up the positive energy when things are going good. Find something that resonates with you and let yourself become completely obsessed with it. Write it down a million times a day, say it in the car, in the shower and in your head. If you’ve never used affirmations before it can feel cheesy and kind of goofy but trust me they work. The key is to say them A LOT. If you’re interested in how affirmations work check out this article from NPR.
Self Help Books and Podcasts
If you can’t afford a therapist I firmly believe you should be investing a lot of your time reading self-help books and listening to podcasts. You need to learn new perspectives, tools and information to start getting different results. If you can’t get them from therapy you need to get them from these other sources. If you’re into audiobooks but also short on cash I suggest using Scribd. They let you get unlimited ebooks and audiobooks for $8.99 a month and they have a great seleciton of self-help books. If you like reading and listening to audiobooks like I do this is a great deal! I love listening to books when I’m cleaning and doing stuff around the house (killing the multitasking game). You can get 30 days of Scribd for free by clicking here. I recommend you check you You Are a Bad Ass and the Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. If you’re super broke there’s still no excuse for not listening to personal development every single day. There are TONS of podcasts available for free. The fact that you can listen to some of the best motivational speakers and teachers in the world anytime you want for FREE is truly a blessing. You can find all of my favorite podcasts in this post. There are tons of books and podcasts about coping with depression, anxiety, and grief. Look around and try to find something related to what is making you want to go to therapy.
Studies have shown that exercising can be one of the best ways to improve your mental health. You can join the nicest gym you’ve ever seen for a fraction of the price of a therapist. The gym I go to has a spa area with a steam room and a sauna. It’s a great way to relax and recharge after a workout. If you can’t afford a gym check out my post of free workouts for depression and anxiety. You can also check out local parks in your area for free. I didn’t even realize there were so many parks where I live until I googled it one day. Now I’m on a mission to check out every single one. Go to the prettiest place near where you live and take a long walk. I like to listen to a self-help book on Scribd (today I listened to You Are A Bad Ass while I walked on the beach). Exercise is one of the main tools I use to manage my depression and anxiety. Whenever I’m having a hard time or my mental health is starting to get bad I will double down on my workout efforts. I would challenge yourself to do some kind of exercise every single day for 30 minutes. This can be a workout program, a run, a walk in the park or whatever you want to commit to. The key is to MOVE for at least 30 minutes.
Meditation can be great for your mental health and it’s freaking free. If you’re broke and struggling give it a shot, it can’t hurt anything. Check out this article on meditating for beginners or check out my post of guided meditations I use to help manage depression and anxiety. I like this morning one for positive energy. I am really bad at getting up early in the morning but when I can get my shit together to wake up early enough to meditate before work I almost always have a really good day. Meditation is great for your mental health and best of all it is free. If you are broke and can’t afford therapy there is NO excuse for not doing this every. single. day. When you have less resources you have to be even MORE committed to improving your life and mental health.
These are just a few ideas but I have more healthy coping ideas in my guides to managing depression and anxiety. If you can’t afford therapy you are going to have to work really hard to make a plan and hold yourself accountable. Managing mental health issues can be very difficult and I completely understand how difficult it is. I also know that in order to really start getting results you have to start taking action and doing the work. Don’t let not being able to afford therapy be an excuse that you use to let yourself off of the hook for making the changes you need to make. Set up a plan of things you could do every day that would make your life better and get to work. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to feel better and you deserve to heal.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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