First of all, I feel it is imperative to start off this blog post by saying this: it is okay. It is perfectly okay to have bad days. Everybody has them, some of us more than others.
You deserve a bad day.
Do not. Please, do not beat yourself up over it, you’re probably beating yourself up about plenty of other things already.
Despite the title, I don’t intend to tell you how to “bust” a bad day. In all honesty, I don’t quite know how, but in the past few months I’ve discovered some things that make them more manageable. Maybe they won’t all work for you, but I hope at least one might offer a bit of comfort. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
- Yoga- All day, every day. I am awful at yoga- I pity all those who have to watch me doing it but I love it. I’ve tried practising mindfulness numerous times but my brain just can’t slow down. Yoga puts the elusive brakes on my brain and I can finally breathe. If you can’t afford classes and don’t know where to start, I would highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne (https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene) Her enthusiasm is infectious and has she has some great sequences suitable for every mood and every person.
- Go for a walk- It’s slightly hilarious that the first two things on my list are ‘exercise’– I am perhaps the most unfit 21 year old in the world. No exaggeration. Then again, maybe the fact that Yoga and walking, rather than running are top of my list are telling. Sometimes, depending on the variant of my low mood, I will go for a run but often I can barely motivate myself to move outside the house and a walk is the best I can do. Again, depending on the mood, music may or may not be an accompaniment.
- Write- and if you can’t write, draw. Studies have actually shown that journaling can be very beneficial for mental health. The catch however, is that you cannot just gripe, you need to reflect critically on feelings and thoughts. Be your own therapist until you get to see yours (if you have one).
- Have a shower- An odd one maybe but I find there’s something cathartic and comforting about the hot water pounding my skin. If there are tears to be cried, they are prompted and wrapping yourself in a towel is like giving yourself, in fact it is, giving yourself a hug.
- Read- I love reading but again, when I am experiencing a low mood it’s difficult to concentrate. I solve this by turning to my favourite book; I can tune mindlessly in and out, without getting frustrated. If you’d prefer something shorter, more concise, try a poem.
- Cook or bake- I love being creative but low mood can be detrimentally de-motivating. Baking or cooking gives me my dose of creativity on a bad day without too much thinking or pressure. Following directions, or disobeying them, I find soothing and it keeps my mind from dwelling on whatever is smothering me on the given day. Then eat it.
- Turn off your phone: On a bad day I find myself checking my phone repeatedly, Torturing myself with the silence of friends and being sucked further into self pity as I scroll mindlessly through Instagram, or watch story after story. Turning off my phone and burying it away, in a drawer or a different room is the best thing I can do for myself. I need to put it into practice more often.
Important Note: While some of us are lucky enough not to suffer from mental health issues, there are some of us- and indeed more than we often think- who do. These tips are not a substitute for seeking help. If you are struggling please speak to a professional. Here are some helplines you can call in Ireland:
Samaritans: 116 123
Body whys: (eating disorder support) 1890 200 444
Spunout.ie is a wonderful resource for teens/young adults in Ireland
Niteline: 1800 793 793 (run by students, for students- this is again a good resource for students in Ireland)
If you have any other resources you want to share below, whether they are tips or helplines/mental health services within Ireland or around the world, please do share.