Hello my lovely artichokes! I hope you all are doing okay, although if you’re reading this post, you probably maybe are not. Which sucks.
During this whole pandemic, and as well just due to a lot of personal things going on, I’ve been having some major ups and downs. I don’t know how to fix it, but I have learned some tactics that help me cope.
However, often when I’m in that really dark place though, I can’t remember those things, and not only don’t really want to feel better, but don’t know how I would go about doing that even if I wanted to, hence this post, which I hope can just serve as a little reminder of some nice things you can do for yourself, even if you’re struggling. Obviously, none of this is going to cure your mental health issues, but I hope that maybe these ideas can help you get through a bad day. ❤
Read a book!
Often, my response to feeling bad is to just spend a lot of time watching Netflix. Obviously, screen time is not inherently evil, but after a couple hours of just watching TV and not really doing anything, you start to feel pretty terrible. Usually I get a headache from fixating in one place too long, I start to beat myself up for just sitting on the couch all day… and all around, it sucks. So sometimes, just swapping to some form of entertainment that you can hold in your hands really helps me cope, and take my mind off things in a little gentler way. For me, reading is really good–sometimes all I need is to just focus on something simple and calming for a couple hours, and I don’t know; it usually makes me feel at least a little better.
Drink some f*cking water
Okay, say it with me kids: COFFEE IS NOT WATER. I tend to just tell myself that, like, because something has some traces of liquid in it, it is therefore the equivalent of just drinking a glass of water. (Eating an apple? Water!) (Eating watermelon? Even more water! Look at me being hydrated!) Um, which is kind of the dumbest thing, but, well, I do it anyhow. Often I’ll just drink two cups of coffee on a really hot day, and then wonder why I feel terrible. (Apparently coffee can be dehydrating.) Obviously, drinking water is not going to cure your anxiety and depression, but even if you mentally feel terrible, not having to in addition deal with the fact that physically, you kind of want to throw up and/or pass out at least makes it easier to cope.
Talk to an actual human being
I know not everyone can physically see a friend right now, depending on how/if restrictions are loosening in your area–and not everyone has someone to turn to. But if possible, just spending time either in real life if it’s safe in your area, or having a FaceTime call with your friends can be a really good way to get out of your head for a little. It might not fix things forever, but just having half an hour of being with people who make you happy can be good as a way of shaking off some of that empty, pointless feeling. Often when I’m worrying about something, just surrounding myself with the actual reality of my life, rather than this myth I’ve built up in my head can help dismiss some of my worries.
Take a shower
I don’t know if this is something that bugs other people as much as it bugs me, but feeling clean is really important to my mental health. On days when I don’t change out of my PJS, don’t take a shower, I just sort of automatically slide into feeling really numb and placid and sorry for myself, which can easily escalate into a full-blown breakdown, which is why maintaining some level of basic human hygiene is really important to me. Even after you have had that breakdown, taking a shower, washing your face, etc. can feel, to me, like putting those bad feelings behind me, and giving myself a fresh start. Again, it doesn’t solve all of your problems, but it’s a little thing that helps me deal, and a good habit I feel like to get into.
Take on a small task (if you have the energy)
So, I’m a total hypocrite with this one, since as I write this my bed is unmade, there are clothes thrown around all over my floor, old mugs teacups scattered around my room, a curling iron on the floor, and in general I’m a bit of a mess. But ignoring that part–Often just dealing with small things that have been stressing you out–like cleaning your bathroom counter, or doing laundry can at least help relieve a little bit of the background stress in your head, and give you a feeling of productivity and accomplishment, which if you’re like me, is really important. Often, I’m either too anxious to focus on those kinds of things, or too tired and sad and just generally indifferent to have the energy, and especially when I’m feeling depressed even little tasks can leave me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, so this isn’t always a good idea. But if you can handle it, it is helpful in some cases.
Get some fresh air
My house is lit terribly–there are so many trees in or yard, and the windows are placed in the absolute worst locations, which means usually my house is pretty dingy and dark, and obviously artificial lighting is just not the same thing as actual birds chirping and real sunlight. Often when I’m really getting into a bad place, I just get deeper and deeper into this little reality in my head, where everyone hates me and my life is pointless, and maybe I should just give up on all my hopes and dreams because I am an awful person… you get the idea. Going outside tends to have this way of snapping me back into reality, and just gets me to kind of get out of my head, and focus on more simple things, like the wind in my hair or the rain on my cheeks. Just not thinking for a while is nice I guess, and getting some exercise, even if it’s just going on a walk, I have found helps me feel less anxious or depressed.
Do something for yourself
This is something I’m still really figuring out, but sometimes on bad days, just doing something soley for myself helps. I guess it’s kind of a way of contradicting all these really hard thoughts I usually have, about not being worthy of anything, because in doing things just for me. Obviously it’s different for everyone, but for me some activities that work are:
- Baking or cooking something just for myself, either comfort food I’ve had a million times before or a new recipe
- Writing something just for myself, rather than just because I want someone to like it, and just having fun with it
- Trying a new activity just for fun. My friend taught me how to skateboard a couple days ago, which I’ve never tried or liked before, and it was seriously the happiest I’ve felt in ages. It’s really hard for me to do something without the intention to monetize it in the future, and I guess it was nice to just do something because it makes me smile, even if I’m terrible at it. Some things you could maybe try are: drawing, origami, doing something new with your hair/makeup, doing a craft, knitting, sewing or playing around with an instrument/trying to learn it if you feel like it.
Let it out
Sometimes, you just need to get it out, and that’s okay. Whether that be by letting yourself cry, screaming into a pillow, writing/drawing it out if you’re a creative type like me, or talking to someone about your feelings, often I just need to get that weight off my shoulders. So never be afraid to do any of those things when you need to. Obviously, allowing yourself to have a full-blown breakdown is never fun, but afterwards often I do feel a whole lot better.
This is just what I’ve found works for me, but I hope it can be helpful for you too. I hope your bad day gets better soon, and that you know that… you deserve to be happy. Say that out loud. I deserve to be happy. I know it’s not as simple as some stranger on the internet telling you that, but I hope someday you can believe it to be true.
Lots of love,