Last week my blog post was about how I am bad at looking after myself; anyone who has had a mental illness or a low point/ has seen a decent healthcare professional will know how important self-care is, not just in terms of physical but mental health as well.
Now my reason for writing this is that I had a rather low day today but it didn’t start off badly. I went to my 9am seminar and actually participated, I got myself a bacon roll and a coffee, rang my mum, watched a bit of youtube and had mapped out everything I wanted to do today… and then I fell asleep.
I’ve been stressed recently so I’m struggling to sleep and I’ve been feeling utterly exhausted so I did need the rest, but with my dissertation due in a week I didn’t feel great about sleeping the day away regardless of how necessary a rest was. I felt it was the wrong time to have a mental health day. But I’ve had a think and I’ve decided to compile a list to help anyone coping with a mental illness (or not, everyone has low days) to combat a bad day.
First things first:
- Can you rearrange things to have a day off?
- If the answer is yes (like when I calmed down and I realised it was today) then the following tips are for you.
- If the answer is no, my best advice is to either call in sick (as I’ve said before mental health is just as important as physical) and try the following tips or listen to some happy-sad music (Florence and the Machine is my personal low day favourite- not so high it feels fake, but not so low it pulls you under) or watch a funny programme or movie if you have time (I cannot recommend Parks and Rec strongly enough, movie-wise: Legally Blonde, or the Lizzie Bennet Diaries for youtube series).
Before we start properly- if you are suicidal or worried about hurting yourself please go to your local A&E/ER department, this is only a DIY situation if you are in a safe but low place. Please seek immediate treatment if you need it.
I’m linking this Buzzfeed article for everyone to look at- not only is it funny, but it has some stellar self-care tips that are just wild enough to work: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/extraness-level-viktor-nikiforov?utm_term=.nuJK0JpVd#.eb2o2dm3A
Ok so after that longwinded introduction, without further ado: the list!
- Tip #1: Drink some water or tea, keeping fluids up is important and will hydrate you for what we’ll do next.
- Tip #2: Put on some sad music, or a film, or look at pictures of kittens (your methods are unimportant, just try not to traumatise yourself) but you need to cry. Crying is utterly cathartic. A good cry can do wonders for your mood. If you do nothing else on this list, this is probably my most important advice.
- Tip #3: Put on some music or a film or a TV show (see above for choice suggestions) and just immerse yourself in a different world- books also work for this, but I would suggest choosing an old favourite (Harry Potter is my go-to).
- Tip #4: Hot chocolate, with lots of marshmallows; if you’re lactose intolerant or don’t like chocolate (first of all what is wrong with you?) then your favourite drink equivalent.
- Tip #5: Get some nice food- doesn’t have to be takeout, although that is my preference. I know a lot of people who find cooking incredibly soothing so this is a personal choice.
- Tip #6: Paint your nails. Yes, all genders. Paint them silver, or black or purple and try a weird pattern or do something silly, just be creative, regardless of how good you are, creativity is a fantastic outlet (I went through a period of dying my hair bright colours if I was down).
- Tip #7: Doodle. Particularly if you self harm. Doodle on your arms, your legs, your toes; I don’t care just use some eyeliner or a soft washable felt-tip pen and draw something. If paper is your preferred canvas over skin that’s fine too, and might actually avoid any awkward encounters with white bed sheets.
- Tip #8: Breathe. Our problems are very rarely as bad as we think they are. Everyone has low points, bad days; not everyone has mental health issues but in the end we are all human and humans feel things, don’t feel bad about that.
Usually all pain passes if you let it. Think of all of the things to look forward to; travelling, family, friends, that food you just ordered, your favourite series coming out soon. Just because one thing has collapsed doesn’t mean it all has to.
I know that the world is not the most positive place at the moment. But sometimes we get to eat cake, or watch a shitty horror film, or we wash our sheets and afterwards they smell great, or we have a perfect cup of tea, or our hair does just the right thing one day and we are reminded that the world is never all bad.
Happy Ed Balls day; remember even if things are bad, that hashtag still exists.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be drinking prosecco, watching Parks and Rec, and trying to calm the fuck down. Oh and eating food; the food’s the most important bit.