Just as you would turn to familiar comforts such as warm soup, cuddling up in bed or a big mug of honey and lemon water when you’re feeling sick, it’s important to remember the things you can do to help when you’re having a challenging day with your mental health.
Some days will be harder than others, whether you’re dealing with a mental health issue or not. When you’re in the midst of a bad patch or struggling with your day, it’s easy to forget the small acts of kindness you can offer yourself and the activities you can do to boost your mood or even just help you through the day.
Here are some of the key things I try to remember to do when I feel like I need to refocus and take steps to manage my mental health. I hope they can help you too.
GRAB SOME WATER OR A HOT DRINK
Okay, this sounds so easy but stick with me!
When you’re lacking energy or enthusiasm, it’s very easy to forget to do the simple things. One of those is to keep hydrated. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t drink enough my head becomes foggy and I can’t focus. That certainly isn’t going to help!
If you feel yourself slipping into a negative space, grab a big glass of water or a warm cup of tea. Stop, sit and drink it.
Not only are you making sure that you’re taking those basic steps to look after yourself, but you’re also giving yourself time to pause. Depending on what you need, you can take this time to just sit and breathe, or to try and identify what’s making you feel unwell.
Even if you can only grab 5 minutes outside, try and go for a quick walk in the fresh air. It’s a great way to reconnect with something much bigger and ‘outside’ of yourself. Being outdoors, with nature can help take you ‘out’ of your own head for a little while.
There are so many benefits to being outside in nature, such as getting that all-important vitamin D from the sun, so try and make it a priority to get outside in the daylight.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Whether that’s going for a jog, pausing for some yoga or a sweaty cardio workout, exercise is great for your body – and your mind.
Moving your body can help you to focus on something other than how you’re feeling or whatever is making you feel stressed. The rush of blood and endorphins will boost your mood and is a great way to feel like you’ve achieved something positive with your day.
TALK TO SOMEONE
Send a text, make a phone call or arrange to meet someone for a coffee. Try not to isolate yourself or sit in your bad feelings for too long. It’s very easy to shut yourself away and ruminate on negative thoughts, and although it can be good to have some alone time to reset, it can also be helpful to take yourself out of that bubble.
Reach out to someone you trust and let them know you’re not feeling great. Sharing your problems with someone else can often bring a new perspective to them, or just hearing from a friendly voice can help you to feel better connected and valued.
WRITE IT OUT
Is there something in particular that’s impacting your mood?
If you find that your mind is buzzing with thoughts or an endless to-do list, it could help to write it all down. Get your feelings out on paper, or reduce the pressure of all the things you need to complete by writing a realistic list of actions.
The simple act of getting it out of your head, and down on paper can help to bring some clarity to your thoughts and give you some space to think about it logically.
CREATE YOUR OWN LIST
When you’re able to take a step back, or you’re mentally in a positive space, write down a reminder of some the key activities, tips or even quotes that will help you the next time you’re struggling with your day.
Everyone’s different and some of these tips might work for you, others might not. So, have a think about some of the things you do that help to boost your mood or help you to feel calm. That could include: reading, taking the dog for a walk, cooking a nice meal, watching a film, listening to your favourite playlist, painting or having a bath.
Whatever it might be, jot down 5 things you can turn to when your mood is low and remind yourself to schedule them into your day when you need them.
If you find that your struggles with mental health are on-going or you’re finding every day particularly hard, please speak to a professional or open up to someone you trust.
These tips are just there when you need a reminder, or a bit of help to make the day as comfortable as possible. Speak to a Doctor or access some of the great resources online that can help you when you’re dealing with more than a bad mental health day.
WHAT HELPS YOU?
Feel free to share any of the things you do to help manage your mental health and give yourself a boost when you need it. It can be helpful to consider new things that could become part of your daily routine or support you when you need it most.