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Coping Mechanisms For Those Bad Mental Health Days

I’m sure that we’ve all had days like these, especially over the past few months in lockdown... Those days where the idea of peeling yourself out from underneath the covers seems impossible, talking to or replying to your closest family members and friends seems like a chore, and your ordinary daily tasks seem simply draining. We've all been there, but not everyone knows how to cope with those days. So, I wanted to make a little list of the things I, or people I know, do to help and maybe, just maybe, it will help someone else too.

1. Exercise

I never thought I’d be one to join the gym, ask literally anyone that knows me, and they’d laugh and say “Abi, at the gym... Never going to happen!”, but I can honestly say it’s the best thing that I’ve done in a long time.

Not only does it physically make you fitter, it mentally makes you stronger by releasing endorphins (basically it makes you feel happy and blocks feelings of pain, so you can power through any discomfort caused by exercising, or of course push past those tough feelings mentioned earlier). There’s also an increase in serotonin which is a chemical responsible for happiness, restful sleep, and a healthy appetite. That, alongside looking fitter, is such a good feeling... Trust me (I never used to believe it either!) it's so worth it.

2. Get organised/tidy

Tidy room, tidy mind. It really works.

In my case, if I’m struggling and I’m surrounded by mess and clutter, I simply can’t focus and in turn, I find myself slipping even further in terms of my mental health. It ends up being a vicious cycle.

Taking a little time to clean and organise your living space, or workspace can make a huge difference to your ability to think more rationally and start to overcome those bad mental health days. I mean it when I say it's the little things that make the biggest impact.

3. Make a playlist of all your favourite songs

It seems so basic, but I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to your mood. Sometimes one simple song can lift you up and change your whole outlook to be ready for the day.

For me, shoving on a throwback playlist (I’m talking tunes from Ne-Yo and Jason Derulo to Vengaboys and of course, a personal favourite of mine, Mr Hudson-Supernova) and have a good old sing and dance. Whether it be in the comfort of your own bedroom, or on a casual drive, yet another thing that helps me clear my thoughts (who knew driving could be so relaxing?), it's one of my favourite things to do... and let's be honest, who can resist a bit of carpool karaoke when Metro Station-Shake it comes on? Nobody!

4. Get creative

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no artist by a long shot. But, there's something so therapeutic about getting a little bit creative, whether that be painting, baking, writing, building... anything!

The list is endless, and I have no doubt that there will be something that you find works for you, even if it's just a little bit. Every small thing makes a difference in how you cope, it might just take some time to discover what works best for you.

It’s all trial and error, but it’s worth it for the outcome. Who knows, you might find a hidden talent too!

5. Know that it will pass

It sounds cliché, I know, but it will always pass.

One morning you’ll wake up and your chest will feel a little less heavy, your mind less cluttered and those small tasks you found so draining will begin to feel easier.

Of course, these things do take time, don’t be disheartened if things take longer than expected to settle back to what feels ‘normal’ again. But always remind yourself that this IS normal too. Having a bad mental health day IS normal. Not knowing how to cope at first IS normal. Once you realise this, you’ll come to terms with it and your coping mechanisms start to become second nature.

It does get better.

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