Wednesday, 2 November 2016

9 things for down days: Part 1

We all have down days. I'm definitely not the first to admit this. Some days you wake up and you just know it's going to be bad day, you're mood is low, you're demotivated and basically would do anything to spend the day in bed.

Maybe sometimes you do? When I was really suffering with my depression, anxiety and eating disorder, I'd spend days on end in bed, refusing to go to school, calling in sick to work.  But I'm happy to say that's a thing of the past now.

Of course, I'm not saying I don't get down days any more, I have plenty. The difference is, I know how to handle them. I've found techniques that work for me and help me when I'm feeling crappy. But don't think that's it - I'll always have a day on the weekend where I'll sleep in a little longer or even spend the day in bed watching films and eating junk food. It's perfectly acceptable to have mental health days, more than that, it's important to have mental health days. For us all.

But for everyday life, it's not doable. You can't call up your boss once a week saying you need a mental health day. This is why I've selected a few top tips in this two part series of what I find most helpful when I'm having a down day/morning/afternoon/evening...

Grab a cuppa, snuggle with your pup and get talking! 

Speak to someone

This is one of the most important, and sometimes the hardest one to follow.

When I'm feeling down, the last thing I want to do is pick up the phone to call or text my partner, a family member or friend. I just want to be alone and not talk to a soul. I mean, when I was in a really low place, I wouldn't talk to anyone. I felt like I had no one that I could talk to even if I wanted to.

But that's just how depression or anxiety make you feel isn't it? Like you're lonely and have no one to talk to, but really you're just isolating yourself I'll be writing a post on the difference between isolation and loneliness soon!) Or even, you don't want anyone around you (this was especially true with my eating disorder).

The thing is, this idea can become so regimented in your head that you believe you have no one or you deserve this loneliness. You believe your family doesn't love you or want to talk to you, you believe you have no friends. This is where helplines come in, and well, ME.

A number of times I've called helplines, like Mind, Beat or the Priory, to speak with someone or tell them something bad that had happened that I was worried about. That's what those helplines are there for. Equally, my reason for writing this blog is to raise awareness of mental health and to help others. So use me!

Sometimes it's easier to speak to someone you don't know and just get things off your chest and get opinions and advice from someone outside of the situation. I feel it helped me a lot over the years.

Get moving!
Did you know exercise releases a hormone called endorphins which makes you feel happier? Yeah yeah, we've heard that before, but I still can't find the motivation to get up and exercise.

I've read articles before telling me to exercise and it's just a boring, predictable thing to say. The part people don't seem to get is that you're feeling crap, you don't want to get up and start jumping around!? You want to sit and watch telly eating junk, am I right?

But c'mon guys we gotta be healthy and get motivated! DUH.

So there's two things are super easy to do, that require you moving about (releasing those endorphins) but don't take too much motivation.
  1. Go for a walk. It's easy to do, doesn't require much effort and you're getting out of the house. If you're lucky enough to live in the countryside like me, you'll be swamped with places to walk which are quiet and peaceful. If you have a dog, win-win, take them for a little stroll. It doesn't have to be for long, it may just be round the block, but honestly, you don't realise how better it'll make you feel just for stepping outside the house for a little while.
  2. Do some exercises at home.
    If you're not feeling up for stepping outside the comfort of your home, there's plenty of things you can do at home. From sit ups, press ups, weight training to full-blown pilates and aerobics videos, like the ones Blogilates puts on on her YouTube. They're fun and you can choose how much effort you want to put into it/how much you move about. 
Read a good book
Reading cheers me up a lot! Either I delve into a world of imagination with fiction novels or I read self-help books to motivate me.

My two favourite fiction books (from total opposite genres): The Real Kate Lavender by Erica James to Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Two self-help books I bought recently: The Little Book of Mindfulness and The Little Hygee, which are both based on the art of mindfulness.

Another one of my all-time favourites is Journalling. Not only because I love buying new pretty stationary bits, but because it helps me so much to get things down on paper. Whether I'm stressed because I've got a lot going on, feeling down for an unknown reason, when I write it all down it becomes clearer. I can rationalise things better and achieve better outcomes.
I'll write another post soon about my techniques for journalling including, rationalisation, thoughts vs evidence etc. 

I hope this helped you even just a little bit. If you've got any tips you'd like to share yourself or would like to talk to me about anything mentioned, give me a buzz. You can comment below or tweet/DM me on Twitter @iamayselulu. 

Stay tuned for part 2. 


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