For those of you who struggle with mental illness, I’m sure you know how tough a bad mental health day can be. You know the ones, where you wake up and feel like you don’t have the energy or willpower to get out of bed, never mind even thinking about eating breakfast, showering and especially going to work. Sometimes, we need to take a day to relax our minds. Here are my top ten things that I do on a bad mental health day, to make the day a little easier and to feel more productive:
Lower your expectations Today is your day. Don’t feel guilty about having a day off, we all need them from time to time. All you have to do is make it to the end of the day, everything else (showering, housework, etc.) is a bonus.
Take your medication Remember to take your medication (if you do take them, that is!), even if it is the only thing that you manage today.
Brush your teeth If you don’t feel that you can face the world today, try to make sure that you brush your teeth. It only takes a couple of minutes, and will leave you feeling much cleaner. It’s quick and easy, and you will feel like you’ve done something productive as well as being thankful in the long run. If you can push yourself, try to wash your face and comb your hair too.
Shower If you feel up to it, a quick shower can make all the difference. On a bad mental health day, the feeling of being unclean can add to the stress. If you feel that you don’t have the energy to shower, then you may find it easier to sit while showering instead. Try to shampoo your hair too if you can.
Simple Meals on Paper Plates I always make sure that I have some paper plates in the cupboards. When you’re feeling down and the last thing you feel like doing is cooking a meal or washing up, paper plates can be a lifesaver! It’s always best to eat something (even if you don’t feel like it!), so try cooking up something small - like a sandwich, a plate of nachos, or a slice of toast, etc. and then all you have to do is eat it and bin the plate, no washing up involved.
Reach out to your Support Network I’d highly recommend having a support network of your family and friends’ numbers to hand. If you’re feeling down, you may find that a quick chat to a close friend or family member can help. Maybe even invite them round for a cup of tea and a hug? If you don’t feel that you have anyone to reach out to, there are also online sites to go to such as Mind, Samaritans and CALM.
Do Something Creative While it can be great to take a day off for your mental health, you may find yourself stewing on negative thoughts. To combat this, I often like to distract my mind by doing something creative. It could be anything such as reading, painting, knitting or even settling down to watch a good film. As long as you keep your mind active on another task, it should help to keep those negative thoughts at bay.
Housework Cleaning the house when your struggling with your mental health can seem like an impossibility. Try to challenge yourself by doing 10 minutes of housework so you can feel like you’ve done something productive and the house is a little tidier too.
Avoid Social Media Sometimes social media can be a wonderful way to reach out to others, and other times it can be the worst for your mental health. If you’re prone to comparing yourself to your friends on Facebook, arguing politics on Twitter or checking out your best friend’s photos of Thailand on Instagram, take a day off. Turn off your phone and completely avoid social media for the day. It doesn’t matter what your friends are up to, the only person who matters today is you.
Journal Some people find that expressing their emotions through writing in a journal can help them feel better. You may also find that if you write often enough, you may be able to spot patterns and find which aspect of your life could be affecting your mental health negatively.
Remember, everyone has tough days and needs some time to themselves; you’ll face the world when you’re ready to. If you feel that your mental health is in a severe state or you are considering taking your own life, please call the emergency services or go to your nearest A&E department.
Take care, Sophie x
As always, please bear in mind that I am not a mental health professional or any other type of professional, this is a hobby for me and is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as any kind of advice. I am not liable for any consequences as a result of this information and if readers rely on any of the information on my blog, it is at their own risk. I cannot confirm that all information is correct, accurate or reliable. The information is true to the best of my knowledge, yet there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. This information isn’t intended as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have, or believe to have, a mental illness, please contact a mental health professional.