Even though I'm doing a lot better mentally than a few years back, I still have days when I struggle to get out of bed. Where everything feels like too much, and it feels like my brain is attacking me. On these days, I like to just give myself some time off. Although I try to push it away at first, I find it better to just allow myself a day or two of just feeling it.
The danger here is that I fall into a hole of just laying in bed all day and not engaging with anything. Which is especially easy to do whilst in lockdown. There are certain things that I do to help pull myself out of a rut.
Note that these aren't things I do on my worst days when I physically feel like I can't do anything. It's just not that easy to pick yourself up. Once I start to feel a bit better, I find that I'm able to do the following things. A lot of the time I have to force myself to do them.
If you're feeling suicidal or in danger of harming yourself, you should seek help immediately. Speak to your doctor or support worker, or reach out to one of the helplines.
1. Lay in
On my bad days, I like to just lay in bed for a while. I allow myself to have that time to veg out, to recuperate. Most days, I try to get up early so I can get things done but when I’m feeling low, it’s better to just relax. Maybe I’ll scroll through my phone or watch a film, or maybe I’ll just sleep. But it’s so comforting to be snuggled up in bed when you’re feeling down. Give yourself that time.
2. Take My Medication
I try to take my medication every day (although sometimes I do forget) but it’s more important than ever to take my medication on a bad mental health day. As hard as it is, you can’t neglect the important things.
3. Let Some Light and Fresh Air In
Next, I open the curtains to let some light into my bedroom. Maybe, I’ll even open the window to let some fresh air in (not so much during the winter – the house is cold enough!) Don’t just sit there in the dark, physically let the light in and then hopefully the light will shine through mentally as well.
4. Get Dressed into Comfy Clothes
It can be all too tempting to stay in my pyjamas all day long, but as much as we want to, we shouldn’t. It will only make you feel worse. Get dressed into some comfy clothes, so you feel at least a bit cleaner, but you’re still comfortable.
5. Tidy My Surroundings
Ever heard the phrase: tidy life, tidy mind? Or something like that. If my surroundings are messy, that usually reflects how I feel on the inside. Trying to keep my surroundings tidy helps my mind feel a bit better.
6. Complete Mental Health Workbooks
My care coordinator (support worker) has given me different workbooks over the year that help with certain aspects of mental health. For example, how to practice self-compassion. I like to work on these when I'm feeling low and need some new tools to help me cope. You can find some workbooks here.
7. Read a Book
This can be a bit hit-or-miss. Sometimes, I love reading, and I can't put a book down. Other times, I can't even bring myself to pick up a book. However, reading a book can be soothing for me. It helps me relax, and it takes me off into a different world. We all need a break from reality sometimes.
8. Watch Something Light-Hearted
Light-hearted is the keyword here. You don't want to watch a horror that's going to put you on edge or an apocalypse film that's going to send you into an existential crisis. A comedy is perfect for this kind of mood or something you find comfort in, such as your favourite childhood film.
9. Take a Hot Bath or Shower
A nice hot bath or shower can be just the thing you need to make you feel human again. Use your favourite scented bubble bath or shower gel, light some candles, pop on a face mask and just relax.
10. Plan for Tomorrow
Something that that helps me feel like I'm getting back on track is planning out the day for tomorrow. Knowing that I have some sort of schedule for the next day helps me look forward to something other than just laying in bed all day. Whether I actually stick to that schedule is another thing...
Those are the things I try to do on a 'mental health day'. I try to do all of these things, although sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.
I hope this helps give you some ideas on what to do when you're struggling and want to get back on your feet.
Until the next time,