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What do you do when you have a bad mental health day? Lay in bed? Ruminate? Scroll endlessly through Facebook and Instagram? There are better ways to handle those hard days.
We can't be happy all the time, and this is especially true for those of us who sometimes struggle with our mental health.
There will be days when feelings of depression and anxiety threaten to get on top of us, and we might feel as if we are facing a losing battle.
These days can happen to us all, so you aren't alone if you're relating to what we are saying. But it's what we do with our day that matters. To get through it, we sometimes have to help ourselves.
You might have your own strategies in place to help you, in which case, great. Do what you need to do. But if not, here are some suggestions that might prove useful to you.
#1: Don't Dwell on Negative Thoughts
It's easy to think negatively on a bad mental health day, but the more these thoughts spin in your head, the worse you'll feel. Life is 50% negative, but when we resist and push away that negativity, it just gets stronger. Allow yourself to feel the feels, and it might surprise you how quickly you process them.
Alternatively, you can try distracting yourself.
If you're at home, try to fill your time with something you enjoy. Work on one of your hobbies, watch a movie that causes you to smile, or take part in any other activity that takes your mind off any thoughts that are troubling you.
Practice mindfulness, too. Take time out to think positively about your life. Give both sides of the 50/50 equal air time. If you spend 20 minutes sitting in negative emotion, spend 20 sitting in a positive emotion.
Remind yourself of the things you are grateful for. And take a moment to check these gratitude journal prompts, and use them if you're writing your thoughts down.
#2: Get Outside
Getting out of the house can be good for you in several ways.
For one, doing so takes you away from the four walls that surround you, so you might feel some mental release when you're out in the open.
The fresh air and sunshine can also ease the way you are feeling because of their health-enhancing properties. People get depressed when they experience little sunlight (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so even just standing outside in the sun can help boost your mood.
As Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy! By exercising or just moving around outside, you'll get those endorphins and feel better.
#3: Spend Time With Others (If You Want)
Some people prefer to be alone when they are struggling with their mental health, as they need that time and space to heal. If this is you, put yourself first, and rest and relax as much as you need to.
But if you're someone who struggles to cope with your mental health when you're sitting alone, talk to somebody. Pick up the phone and chat to a friend or family member. Or get out of the house and visit somebody who cares for you. We know it might take a lot of effort, especially if you're feeling tired, but having somebody to talk to could be helpful to you. You can vent how you're feeling, and that is better than keeping your thoughts locked up inside.
There is no easy answer for issues surrounding mental health, and we know that our suggestions are short-term solutions. However, if they can help you get through your day, use them. It's better than doing nothing to help yourself.
Seek professional help too, especially when you are genuinely struggling. Call your doctor and book an appointment. You can also connect with the licensed therapists available online at BetterHelp. You'll get the advice you need to get back on track, and their support will help you in the long-term.
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