Self manage
Māu anō koe e whakahaere

This section outlines some tips for you to better manage aspects of your health. Often with better awareness and a more deliberate focus on self-care we can get back on top of our game ourselves.

Remember though, sometimes we can’t go it alone. When you haven’t been able to get on top of things, the earlier you reach out for help the better. Sometimes it is hard to ask for help but usually things don’t fix themselves on their own and hoping they will go away is not helpful. Asking for help earlier speeds recovery.

Getting Started

Many of the habits and strategies below are basic common sense, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Getting the basics right will go a long way to helping you cope.

Don’t try to do everything at once. When you have read the following sections, you may wish to stop for a while and work out a ‘plan of action’. Consider these questions:

  • Which of these issues sound particularly relevant for you?
  • Which strategies are you prepared to try?

Select only one or two to begin with. Come up with a plan to work on them, one at a time, and set yourself some realistic goals for the next week. At the end of the week, review your progress. Modify your goals if necessary and/or try some additional strategies for the following week. Over time, you will gradually develop a range of coping strategies and changes to your lifestyle that will help you to feel more in control of your symptoms, and get more out of life.

Healthy Habits

Often there are some basic changes we can make in our lives that will as navigate life challenges.

NZDF Ways to wellbeing

The NZ Mental Health Foundation discusses five ‘actions’ that are integral to the experience of wellbeing. These are:

  • Connect, me whakawhanaunga
  • Give, tukua
  • Take notice, me aro tonu
  • Keep learning, me ako tonu
  • Be active, me kori tonu


5 Ways to Wellbeing | Power for Good: Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Learn more about the Mental Health Foundation Five Ways to Wellbeing

Helpful thinking

When you're not at your best, it's easy to slip into a pattern of negative and unhelpful thinking that can make you feel worse and make it hard to cope.
You can learn to identify these unhelpful thoughts, to challenge and interrupt them, and then replace them using a 5-step process, with thoughts that will help you to be motivated, energised and to cope with challenges and relate better to others.

Read more about managing unhelpful thoughts here.

Letting go of unhelpful thinking: 5 steps to making helpful thinking a part of your life

You can choose to create a distance and space from your thoughts and see them just as mental events that we can choose to listen to or just let go.

5-step thinking process

  1. Identify your unhelpful thoughts. Take some time to identify your unhelpful thoughts.

  2. Challenge unhelpful thoughts. After identifying your unhelpful thoughts, it is important to challenge the faulty beliefs underlying your unhelpful thinking. Just because you have a thought, it doesn't make it true.

  3. Identify helpful thoughts. Now that you have identified and challenged your unhelpful thoughts, replace them with helpful thoughts.

  4. Schedule practice of helpful thoughts. Unhelpful thoughts can be difficult to dislodge from our thinking, especially in the early stages of change. Schedule some time to go over the questions that challenge your unhelpful thoughts and practice saying aloud your helpful thoughts. As you do this, imagine that you are in the situation where the unhelpful thoughts occur. Or practice in the actual situation if this is possible.

  5. Review progress. Set a date for when you will sit down and rate your progress. At that point you may decide to also review your helpful thoughts and decide whether you need some new ones. You may also have identified some other unhelpful thoughts that you need to counter by working through the steps again.

To read more about challenging unhelpful thoughts click here.

For additional resources and self-management tools check out our thinking tools as well information about Managing my inner critic.

Building support

When you are not doing too well it is easy to drift away from, avoid or fall out with, people who could be supportive and helpful. Being isolated for too long is not good for you. If you're feeling cut off from other people, consider how you can restore your connections with family and friends, or make new connections that you will come to value over time.


How do social connections with other people help?

Did you know that social support is a great antidote to stress.

The support of family and friends can help you to:

  • Feel understood and cared for.
  • Know that you fit in somewhere and belong.
  • Feel needed and wanted.
  • Understand that you are not alone and do not need to be isolated from people you need and who need you.
  • Build up your confidence that you can handle the challenges you are facing.
  • Pool ideas when you are facing a difficult situation.

Develop your social connections map

Who is currently in your support network? These will be people you can easily contact, even if they do not live close by. You may be able to access loved ones and friends through telephone, email, Internet networks, and instant messaging.

Write your name in the centre of the circle, and then write in the names of people, professionals, or organisations that are part of your network. Add more lines as needed. Remember you can choose people who live close to you now or whom you can contact by phone or online.

Need further help?

If you've had some success using the tools above, well done! From time to time, as situations change in your life, you might find it useful to revisit this information. If you are struggling, please consider seeking further support.

Talk to your GP or a health professional. They can help you to decide what assistance you need and arrange appropriate care.

You can find more information about building resilience in the other pages in this section, or by downloading the complete toolkit below.

A list of recommended websites, apps and additional support contacts can be found here.

A list of internal NZDF providers can be found in the Your Providers section.

A list of additional support services can be found in the Get Help Now section.