It’s unfortunate that for those of us with mental illnesses, we have the responsibility put on us to ‘manage’ our mental health as best we can, whether that means we remember to take our meds in the morning or getting our butts to therapy.
Managing mental health is hard. Sometimes you simply cannot turn the voices off, sometimes you can’t believe anything else apart from the negative, illogical messages running around your head – sometimes mental health management is impossible, and that’s okay. It happens.
There are a couple of things I do sometimes to try and shift my dark mood, things that I turn to that I know will help me feel even the tiniest bit better. I don’t always do them because as I said, sometimes the illogical, horrible voices win and I sink into a dark spiral of doing very little, thinking that there isn’t any point in trying to feel better anyway.
But, on those okay-ish days when I do manage to do a little bit of self-care, these are the things that I normally turn to:
- Watching ASMR YouTube videos
I normally watch some of these if I am trying to have a nap, or just because I want to relax. My favourite ASMRtists are: WhispersRed, Gentle Whispering, GoodnightMoon, and Sophie Michelle.
- Watching Vine compilation videos on YouTube
Guaranteed to make me laugh, especially when watching the classics.
- Watching JennaMarbles videos on YouTube
Another guaranteed laugh, plus I’ve been a fan of Jenna for years now, so it’s just nice to watch her do random things that make her happy.
- Going for a walk
Fresh air is always good, and I find that I normally take the opportunity to call my mum whilst walking, which tends to lift my spirits.
- Going for a run
Gets rid of stress and anxiety, as it is literally using up the extra adrenaline, even if only temporarily.
Baking makes me feel like I’ve done something sort of productive, plus I get a tasty gluten-free treat afterwards. My go-to bake is peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips.
- Putting make-up on in the morning
I knew that I felt shit today so after showering I decided to put some make-up on, so that at least I look alright on the outside, even if I feel shit on the inside. This especially works when I have to go to something social, like playgroup with my daughter.
- Wearing something cute and comfy
Again, felt shit today but wanted to decent whilst feeling comfy, so put on my nice jeans and my Slytherin jumper, which kinda looks like a pyjama top but who cares, right?
- Having a day off from my phone
Leaving your phone upstairs or on airplane mode for a few hours or even the whole day is so nice. I love not having it around sometimes. The constant checking/ scrolling can make me feel more isolated than if I just pretend that I don’t even have a phone.
- Watching something lighthearted and comforting on Netflix
My most recent binge of something comforting was Gilmore Girls, need I say more?
- Cuddling a hot water bottle
Currently have one resting on me. Hot water bottles have always been a comfort to me, ever since I had a stomach ache everyday during my teen years from undiagnosed coeliac disease.
- Wearing a blanket/ dressing gown
When struggling with anxiety, this helps the most, as having that extra layer around me can make me feel a little bit safer.
- Getting a chore done
It takes my mind off of whatever horribleness is going on in my brain. Yesterday was the hoovering and sweeping of the main living room (which takes a long time when you have a one year old). Today might be more hoovering, or even the cleaning of the bathrooms.
- Making art
Last night I made shit pages in my art journal, but at least I made art.
- Writing in my journal
Getting the thoughts out and onto paper can help bring a sense of relief sometimes. It can also sort of lead my thoughts in a different direction, rather than repeating the same dark thoughts over and over again.
Do you do anything that helps ‘manage’ your mental health? Let me know in the comments!