Many people who are incarcerated look anxiously toward the day they can be released. Long days in prison can quickly wear on a person’s well being, while freedom is awaiting just on the other side of the prison walls. But, when that hopeful day comes, there is a whole new set of issues the person being released will face.
“Keep hope in your heart. I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
Put hope first, above all fear and doubt, and it will guide you through this difficult process. There are many stresses to be handled in reentry. People need time to adjust to society on the outside. They need to figure out a game plan for the future and consider steps on how to get there. They often need time to work on family relationships and healthy friendships. And, through all this, they need to figure out how to make an income. These are just a few things people face when they reenter society. With all of the changes, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated, which is why it’s incredibly important to focus on your mental well being.
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
Success on the outside is often impacted by how you feel mentally. Hope and other positive feelings can help a person feel more capable of moving forward. It can also help them feel strong during adversity.
There are a few ways to help improve mental well being on the outside. If you are aware there are mental health issues, make sure to seek treatment and keep up with it. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and see a counselor to help you work through things.
There can be a roller coaster of emotions that come along with this, but a counselor can help you handle this with success.
A counselor can be helpful for anyone being released from prison, not just those who have been diagnosed with mental health issues. This is because, as addressed above, a person facing reentry will go through a lot on the outside. There can be a roller coaster of emotions that come along with this, but a counselor can help you handle this with success and it is highly advisable to get one lines up as soon as possible.
It’s equally important to find people who will support you – people that won’t judge you and will stick by you. These people are the ones who want the best for you and encourage you to do your best. They stick by you through thick and thin. You may find these people in your family or in a support group you attend. Look for those people you can confide in and then make sure to be open with them about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. It’s important that you don’t feel alone – find those people you can count on.
Making time to exercise can also help you feel more positive. It gives you something good to focus on, allows you space to work things out mentally (while working out physically) and can boost feel-good hormones (endorphins). Exercise is something you can also do with those positive people in your life.
These are just a few ways to help you stay positive and focused during reentry. It’s tough work integrating back into society, but you CAN do it. Stay focused on hope and keep working toward your future.
Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance. Subscribe below to get notified when we produce more helpful resources.
Remember, you are not alone, we are in this together and hope is NOT cancelled.