For one whole year I took an indulgent bath, lit candles and slathered on moisturising lotion but still I veered between depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. I was at rock bottom and when I finally confided in someone just how dreadful I was feeling, she confirmed that I was doing all the right things and told me just to give it time, it would get better. Eventually it did but I needed much more than a bath, candles and body lotion. I am now sharing the suggestions that I wish someone had made to me.
Delete an app
The effects of Instagram on mental health are well documented. In the course of evolution, we have been taught that we must be, or at least appear to be, happy all the time and Instagram is a showcase for that. Therefore, if you are feeling low, it is a painful reminder of what you feel you don’t have. Please delete it and any other app that exacerbate your feelings, you can always have it again later but in the interim, remove the temptation until you remember that most of what you see isn’t actually reality anyway.
Reduce your ‘to do’ list
When you feel low it is easy to become consumed by what you have not done rather than celebrating each victory like getting dressed some days. So, a ‘to do’ list can feel as though it is goading you for what you didn’t manage to complete. Look at the list through new eyes and decide what is essential, things like walking the dog or food cannot wait. However, I would argue that unless you are running out of clothes, the washing can wait for another day.
Mute a Group Chat
This is an essential one for me. It is too easy to get drawn into family dramas, neighbour disputes and parent disagreements and when you are not at your best, you focus on the negative and before you know it, the group has focused it attention on something that has been written rather than the initial issue. If you happen to stumble haphazardly into that situation, you will then find so much to berate yourself for. Please just mute it and do not get involved, if you need to know something pressing, someone will be in touch.
Say no to yet another commitment
By saying no to another commitment, you are both protecting your boundaries and recognising your need for time out. Protecting your boundaries is so important and the only people that get upset about you doing that are the ones who are exploiting you having unsteady ones. Recognising your need for time out is a great start to understanding yourself, understanding is power.
Limit your consumption of bad news
There is so little reported in the news to lift our spirits and so, limit your exposure to it. Turn off news notifications on your phone, avoid watching TV at 10pm. At our lowest we have a tendency to catastrophise, couple that with a bout of anxiety and your mind really does begin to play cruel tricks. While it is unrealistic in this digital age to advise you to avoid it altogether, I urge you to do your best to limit your exposure.
Spend less time in toxic environments
I know this can be so much easier said than done, but if you recognise a situation you find yourself in as toxic, then spend the very minimum time you can there. If it is a work situation, ask for help, things like working from home some days or moving your desk can make all the difference. If you get an unfavourable response, start planning your exit strategy – take back control.
Ask for help
Please do this, keep asking until you find someone who is able to guide you to great mental health and a thriving future.
If you need support, get in touch 💛 x