Mental health can be a controversial topic, mostly because people don't understand it. Everyone has bad days sometimes, even people who are fortunate enough to have fantastic mental health. When life has got you down, don't despair- there are several strategies you can use to uplift your mind and spirit.
1. Get Rest
Rest is the body's way of telling us to slow down. If you ignore the warning signs of your body and continue to push yourself to do more when all you need to do is rest, you're putting your mental and physical health at risk. There's nothing wrong with sleeping in and spending the day at home when you can.
2. Eat Good Food
I'd argue that good food doesn't necessarily mean healthy food- if you're in a funk and need something to uplift you, eating any meal is better than not eating a meal at all. Eat your favorite comfort foods or splurge for a takeout meal at one of your favorite restaurants. Once your lousy day passes, focus on correcting your eating habits. No one can handle eating junk food all the time!
3. Get Outside
We all need a little vitamin D, and in fact, Vitamin D has been proven to help those dealing with depression. Spend some time outdoors, even just walking around your backyard. If you can't bring yourself out of your house, spending time near an open window is better than nothing.
4. Stop Shaming Yourself
Everyone deals with mental health issues at some point in their lives, whether they are chronic or lifelong. Bad days come and go, but you will always be here. Don't be too hard on yourself and internalize the idea that your mental health symptoms are all your fault. Do what you can to get through the tough days and continue to grow through the hard times.
Exercising is a great way to fight back against bad days. Even if it doesn't give you an immediate mood boost, you have the peace of mind of knowing you're taking care of your body.
6. Engage in Hobbies
Spending time doing the things you love is one of the best ways to reconnect with yourself and escape from the world around you- at least for a little while. And no, scrolling memes on your phone doesn't count. Pick up knitting needles, a good book, or some art supplies and get to work. If you don't have a hobby, now is a great time to discover some interests you've never explored.
7. Spend Time With Your Pets
Whenever I'm having a bad day, my pets can always cheer me up. Their companionship reminds me that even though I feel alone, I'm never truly alone. Plus, their personalities and the way they interact with each other makes me laugh. Your pets will always appreciate any time you spend with them, and being intentional about when and how you play with them will make you happy, too.
8. Cut Out Social Media
Social media is a toxic hurricane designed to grab and keep our attention. While there are plenty of things to love about being online, when you're struggling with mental health, it's all too easy to run into content that will affirm your negative beliefs and make you feel like you aren't doing enough. What's more, you run the risk of running into media that upsets you, which isn't going to do your mental health any favors.
9. Go on a Weekend Retreat
I know what you're thinking- not everyone wants to or can afford to drop everything and go to an all-inclusive resort just because they feel sad. If you can, that's great, and I encourage you to do so. A getaway doesn't have to mean a vacation- it just means a break in your routine. Go somewhere in your local area you haven't been to before, or go on a walk in nature. If you can't bring yourself out in public, go for a drive. Getting out of your home will help your brain shift gears.
10. Make Your Bed Every Day
Make your bed every day. When your feet hit the floor, before you wander downstairs to grab a coffee and get ready for work, pull your covers up and tuck them in nicely. A tidy bed will make your bedroom look clean, and when you return home after a long day, your bed will look cozy and inviting.
11. See a Therapist
Mental health professionals provide guidance and assistance to those dealing with difficult times and anyone who wants to talk. Of course, seeking professional help is not always available to everyone, but there are some hotlines and resources to contact if you cannot seek service.
If you or someone you know is struggling, text “Helpline” to 62640 or call NAMI at 800-950-6264.
12. Spend Time With People
Being social is hard, especially when you struggle with your mental health. Hang out with your friends or call them to talk through your day. If you're in a new area and haven't been able to meet many new people, join a social group, like a book club or exercise class. We are made to be in community, and making friends among like-minded people will help you realize you're not alone.