I’ve re-written this post about 100 times over this weekend because every time I go to start it I start the post off by saying something negative about myself. So if you can’t tell by that what sort of weekend I’ve had then maybe I need to be more to the point. A shit one.
It’s also Mental health awareness month this month and I feel like this is not only a topic close to home but a topic that still has a great big transparent wall around it. People inside the wall are those with anxiety, depression, PTSD, SAD, bipolar, ADHD, OCD, any type of mental health condition and those outside of the wall is everyone else. I call it the transparent wall because if you are reading this and you have never had to deal with any type of mental health condition, I bet any money you have someone in your life that has. Unfortunately, you just can’t see it because mental health isn’t visible and I feel like this is why it’s been ignored for so long.
I really didn’t want this post to be negative as I feel like this is not a topic we should consider “negative” to talk about. But let’s face it, it’s not like feeling your worst is all rainbows and unicorns is it? In fact, it sucks, BUT there are steps you can take to relieve your mind. These are all tips I have tried this weekend to try and get myself out of this slump I am in.
There are so many other ways to realise your anxiety or bring yourself up from a low day, but when looking at your bank account is like staring down the barrel of a gun, it feels that extra bit more difficult. You can’t treat yourself to a new handbag, you can’t go out with friends, you can’t get a massage, you can’t even bloody buy a pizza and cake that you have wanted for like 4 days now! You begin to run out of ways to help yourself. So these are my top tips for bringing yourself up when you feel your worst, well at least help towards feeling that little bit more “normal”.
Go for a walk
There are two people in my life that tell me to do this EVERY time I say “I don’t feel good” and until this weekend I’ve just ignored this advice because my mind tells me this “I don’t want to go for a walk. I’ll look stupid going for a walk on my own without a dog, or a friend, or a child. People will look at me and think I’m a weirdo.” This is where the battle starts. It will probably take, roughly, three hours from the point in which someone has said: “go for a walk” to the time I actually decide to put my shoes on and step out the front door. BIG TIP: those of you who know someone who is feeling low, or just isn’t feeling themselves and you offer this advice, if possible instead of just telling them to go for a walk, physically go to their house and say “we’re going for a walk”. They WILL say no, they WILL say they’re not going, BUT if you keep persisting then they might just come with you. You don’t need to talk about it with them, you don’t even need to make small talk, just the simple act of walking with them instead of letting them walk alone makes all the difference.
Turn off your phone
A really bloody hard one for ALL of us these days. That’s why it’s so important. Technology has such a huge impact on our lives, and therefore our mental health. I make sure I have at least two hours every evening without my phone, this doesn’t sound a lot but it helps. I’m lucky in the respect that I can’t be on my phone when I’m at work but this does mean that as soon as I leave it’s practically glued to my hand. I hate that. So I have now told myself that for two hours each evening I will be without my phone. I take a bath, yes for an hour, I go to the gym, I sit and write, I read, I see a friend, I’ll do anything that distracts me from my phone and before I know it the time has past and I feel so much better. For two hours of my life, I have stopped comparing myself to that girl on Instagram who is only 20 and seems to have her shit together. Although sometimes this isn’t enough to bring me out of my slump when I’m having a really low day, it is a step in the right direction.
Read a book
Reading is good for the soul. I love reading. I read every day. Whether that be catching up on some of my favourite bloggers, reading an article in a magazine or sitting down with a coffee and getting lost in a book. I believe reading expands your mind, makes you use your imagination, makes you think about things for the better. I love reading self-help books I must have about a million, they help me get my shit together, kinda. Sometimes though these books don’t help when the grey cloud has chosen to settle over my head. I need the distraction from my thoughts, I need a good juicy gossip, dramatic book to get lost in. I find that reading dramatic novels take my focus off my own life and let me realise that my life isn’t all that bad because I haven’t just killed someone with my friend and am now trying to cover it up. Y’know that kind of ridiculous drama that is so far removed from your own life. If you find it hard to read there is no harm in listening to an audio book, these are great for those who find it hard to focus. I love listening to audio books or podcasts at night, really helps me relax and zone out ready for a good nights sleep.
Write it down
This is obviously one that suits me down to the bone. I’ve done this since the age of 8. When my parents got divorced I did NOT deal with it well, mum found it hard to listen as she felt biased, so she suggested if I felt too uncomfortable to talk to a stranger or family friend then I should write my thoughts and feelings down. I have carried this advice with me throughout my life. I feel lost if I don’t have a notepad in my handbag, using notes on your phone just isn’t the same. I write down anything and everything. From to-do lists to writing down how I feel. It’s such a release for me to put pen to paper and just lay everything out in front of me. You don’t even need to re-read what you’ve written down, sometimes all it takes is for you to write it down. It’s easier said than done for some people, although saying that I know a few people that I never thought would be the type to actually take this advice and have found it to be SO helpful.
Talk to someone
I’d be lying to you if I said I had even attempted to do this tip this weekend because I haven’t. I know, “practice what you preach sista” but I’m being honest all I’ve wanted to do is be on my own. I can’t be asked to talk about what it is that is bothering me because quite frankly I don’t believe that anyone will get it, and sometimes it’s just really bloody hard to reach out to someone and say “hey I feel shit today, talk to me and let me drown you with my problems” because that is how you feel when you try to talk to someone. Trust me I get it! This isn’t the case AT ALL! A problem shared is a problem halved, if you’re talking to someone who truly loves you they will want you to share your problem in hope that it releases some of your stress, anxiety and worries. This is one thing I should do more when I’m having a bad day. I’m so good at talking about it when I’m feeling my confident self but when I’m not, I hide from the world, push people away and quite literally hide under my duvet all day and really this is when I should talk about it the most. So don’t do what I do, and talk to someone.
Let’s break down that transparent wall, be more compassionate to others and try and help ourselves too. Having any type of mental health condition is tough but the more openly people speak about it hopefully the percentage of people that are affected is diminished. I hope that by sharing my tips and my own experience I am able to help at least one person feel that little bit closer to feeling themselves again.
Remember it does not define who you are.
Ta-ra for now