Mental health is undoubtedly important- and as one of the millions who suffer from anxiety- I feel it is important to open up a discussion surrounding these topics.
Therefore, I thought I would share how I’ve learnt to best deal with days when my anxiety is at its worst.
The very first thing I need to do is accept it’s a bad day. I call them write-off days because they are days that I accept I’m not going to be my most productive, or motivated, or most upbeat; they are days I essentially skip in favour of self-care and recuperation; to plug myself in and recharge.
2. Be Gentle
Just as you would take it slow with a sprained ankle, treat your mental health like a muscle that also needs rest and recovery after the strain of anxiety.
For me, this means no loud noises or busy places, deep breathing and slowing my thoughts; a gentle day of passive activities.
Or just having a quiet place to retreat to can make all the difference.
3. Make a List
I make a to-do list every day to improve my productivity, but on bad days this is even more important to me.
On bad days I write down everything I need/ want to do, not just the big things, i.e. shower, brush hair, brush teeth, paint nails, washing up, cook dinner, drink water, watch an episode of certain TV show.
This, I’ve found, really helps me get out of that ‘I’ve achieved nothing, I’m such a failure’ slump, and seeing things get ticked off makes me feel more motivated to tackle the bigger stuff later.
4. Focus on the Positive
It’s important and helpful to reshift my thoughts away from myself the harmful, negative ones and try to find the positive.
I like to do this on bad days by listing 1 or 2, or more things I’m grateful for- even if it’s just little things like how soft my pillow is; how refreshing water taste; how warm the shower it.
Taking time to realise that these tiny things are valid too helps the mind refocus on the more positive aspects of the day.
5. Try and Get Out the House
I know this doesn’t always seem possible- or I don’t have the energy to- but getting out the house, even just to the end of the street and back, does wonders for resetting my day and helping me feel a bit more refreshed.
6. Use the ‘Special Day’ Things
Do you have a candle, or a bath bomb, or a bar of special chocolate you’ve been saving for a special occasion?
Use it today.
You are special. You are the occassion. And treating yourself on bad days is important.
Enjoy it. Take time to really focus on how it makes you feel- how the candle smells; how the bath water feels around your body; how the chocolate melts in your mouth.
Slow your thoughts.
Savour the moment.
If I’m feeling up for it, taking all the focus away from myself and cleaning/ tidying can make a lot of difference.
Put on some music, dance and sing, reminisce in all the memories of your things as you clean them.
Making things smell and look fresh and clean always makes me feel a little better- even if it’s one room, my wardrobe, or just making my bed.
8. No Social Media
Nothing makes me feel worse than Facebook- on bad days I stay away!
9. Reach Out
Contradictory to the last point, reaching out to people can also help on bad days, whether through text or social media.
It can feel incredibly lonely and, something I’m always guilty of, is feeling like I have no one to talk to or I’m annoying if I do.
But there is always someone- friends, family, a doctor, and the millions of people online! Sometimes posting a comment in a youtube video helps me feel connected to the world if I can’t (or don’t want to) meet or talk to anyone else.
Some days (when viable) I put everything on hold and go get the rest I need.
I can plan to do the things I need to the day after knowing I’ll feel better and more productive.
Yoga and meditation are great for stress and mental health. Even if you’ve never done it before, there are videos on youtube you can follow on a blanket on the floor just about anywhere.
It’s great for focussing the breathing, relaxing muscles and emptying the mind.
12. Get Cosy
My favourite thing to do on bad days is to just get warm and cosy.
Grab a blanket and sit cuddle up with a cup of tea, fluffy socks and a good book.
It’s also a great thought to know that’s what you can come home to.
It’s ok to shut out the world for a day or two. Write-off days are all about self-care, self-care and absolutely no guilt.
Allow yourself the time to heal.
Allow yourself to know that you can.