Whilst recovering from depression you still get some bad days and these can be terrifying. Personally, I get terrified that I’m falling into my old ways again and before I know it I won’t be able to leave the house again. However, it is just a bad day, it will most likely pass – worrying about this recurring the next day will just exacerbate the anxiety I feel.
Bad days are normal for everyone, not just for people suffering with mental illness. Throughout my struggle I have learnt a few things help me feel better on these days and even though I know they will help me, I still struggle to motivate myself to do them. I just have to promise myself it will be worth it and that I can then go back to bed.
1 – Making a to-do list
It might be because I’m a type A person, but I love making lists – it helps me to organise my thoughts. On bad days, my to-do list might only include showering and taking my medication (and not being sick for three hours so the drugs are absorbed). On good days, my to-do list will most likely include 101 things which I will most likely never achieve. However, I find that lists make me more likely to complete the task. I’m not sure if it’s the satisfaction of ticking things of the list and feeling productive, but it definitely motivates me so I recommend trying this.
2 – Painting my nails
It might seem ridiculous but when I was coming out of my worst time I set myself a challenge of painting my nails every week. I liked when my nail polish caught my eye, it made me feel proud of taking care of myself and making an effort. Additionally, having my nails painted made me feel a bit more confident – I felt good about my hands when I couldn’t bear to put make up on. It’s something I used to really enjoy so maybe if that isn’t your thing think of something along those lines, something that you used to enjoy and is a quick and easy activity.
3 – Messaging my friends
Although on these days I get extremely hypersensitive and irritable, I would argue with a wall when I’m having a bad day, talking to someone you trust really helps. A lot of my thoughts are distorted and illogical therefore sharing them with a friend who can rationalise your worries can help make you feel better. I have explained to my close friends that if I am feeling really bad I will probably be angry which is quite out of character for me; this has helped them to understand I am not meaning to be mean.
4 – Meditate
I know this is such a cliché recommendation, but meditating is so beneficial. When my mum first recommended it I rolled my eyes and refused. However, I reached a point where I was willing to try anything to get better so I gave it a shot. It didn’t help immediately, it took quite a few attempts to get used to it but now if I’m feeling stressed it brings me back to a more bearable place. Regularly mediating also helps to prevent me from having bad days – might be a placebo effect. I also noticed when my anxiety flared up I would subconsciously take deep breaths which is a great way to centre yourself in the moment.
5 – Light a candle
This might seem random but creating a nice, calming atmosphere always makes me feel better. Cleaning your living space is another way to feel a bit more relaxed. Tidy room, tidy mind. This is my favourite candle company and I’m obsessed with the scent of this one right now
6 – Cry if you need to
I find crying in front of people so embarrassing but after it I am always so relieved. I struggle to talk about how I’m feeling so when others see my cry, I don’t have to try and convey my thoughts into sentences that will make sense to other people. If someone sees you cry they will automatically understand that you are upset and will comfort you in the best way they know how.
7 – Remember how far you have come
It really helps to remember that you have been in an equally distressing or potentially worse mindset before and you have overcame it. The quote “You have survived all of your worst days”, really resonates with me as it reinforces how even though you might feel hopeless you have been strong enough to get through it before, so you can do it again.
8 – Spend time with a loved one
Whether this may be your dog, brother or best friend, feeling the support can brighten your day. This will remind you how precious you are to someone’s life and how important it is that you keep trying.
9 – Have an early night
Sleep normally resets my mood. I struggle with insomnia so I try not to nap too close to when I should be sleeping but naps can also just give you a rest. The things that might have be bothering you today could be resolved overnight, so sometimes I like to save myself from the hours of unnecessary worrying and sleep. I will wake up and the problem could be resolved or will seem smaller and a lot more manageable.
10 – Remember why you love yourself
It might sound soppy but remember you are an amazing person. Someone once told me that I feel so deeply which is why I get intensely sad but experiencing such extreme emotions allows me to experience great happiness at some points and to love people deeper. I might wish my depression away every single second of the day but it has made me who I am today.