My mental health isn’t great at the moment (obviously that’s a bit of an understatement because those of us who suffer know we generally use daft terms like ‘not great’ to mean …’I feel like I’m driving that bus on the movie Speed right now ‘ but stay with me.
When your head is a bit of a whirlwind and you feel all out of control ,the only thing really left to do is be a bit kind to yourself. Be as kind to yourself as you would to a friend who was having a rough time.
Unfortunately poor mental health will often result in your brain telling you NOT to look after yourself . That you’re not worthy of care ,that you don’t deserve it . On this one I’m going to just have to say we over rule that horrid voice in our head and care for ourselves regardless.
I’ve spent a good few years teetering on the edge of sanity one foot either side and in this time I’ve picked up a few tips. Obviously we’re all different and what works for me may sound awful to you but you might pick up some new ideas so I’ll share anyway!!
Any kind . Those new age colouring books , painting,sewing whatever helps you focus on the project in hand stopping that over thinking for just a little while will help. Small girl and I went pottery painting last week and we both commented how relaxing it was
Bubble baths are just luxury aren’t they. Take in a tea ? A book ? Bribe the kids with extra screen time so noone bursts in for a wee!! You’ll get out less stressed than you went in!
Join in fully with them. Splashing in puddles , swinging on swings , feeding the ducks . If you do these activities with all the exuberance of a giddy toddler you’ll find yourself smiling!
For me this would take the shape of a Broadway number ….my All That Jazz is particularly good …but if a bit of a kitchen rave is more your thing go for it .
Confront those tricky things. However you need to . If it’s a phonecall to your bestie talking over what you’re feeling or if like me you’ve got to write them down . I just always feel better once they’re no longer dominating my brain. They seem less powerful written down or said out loud than when they’re whizzing round your head gathering momentum with every passing minute!
The enemy of mental health wobbles.
The listeners , the people who remind you that your inner mean girl voice is just your brain playing tricks . The ones who’ll drag you out or join you under a duvet. They are a huge weapon in our arsenal against that voice telling you you are unloved and uncared for.
If you’re eating choc for comfort or getting the kids a pizza for dinner or giving yourself 20 quiet minutes. You musn’t feel guilty and I know this is way easier said than done. Looking after yourself will make you nicer to be around though and make you a little more functional. Give guilt the middle finger
Heart to Heart
A good , honest talk to someone you trust about how particularly crappy you are feeling that day will just take the load off a little . Ease the burden if you can.
This goes hand in hand with the guilt thing I guess , but you matter . You need to be well. You are worth care and consideration.
If your appetite has disappeared as mine tends to during a wobble then just eat something. If the only something you can even contemplate eating would give Jamie Oliver nightmares then so be it . One non nutritious meal isn’t going to break you. You can get back to healthy eating tomorrow when you feel a bit stronger.
I have a kickass playlist for when I have to do scary things. As someone who suffers from hypervigilance social anxiety and a load of other stuff well most things are scary to me . Having to deal with people , making a phone call , a noisy bird squawking in my ear. I’m familiar with feeling nervy and scared BUT once I’ve Taylor ,Beyonce and Pink in my earphones I can psyche myself up to what’s ahead.
Put the episode of Friends you’ve seen a million times on , watch some stand up . Whatever has a chance at raising a giggle is going to make you feel better.
Again much like the kickass playlist and the dancing music can be one of the most therapeutic tools at our disposal whether that’s belting out Whitney or having a weep to Adele . Music just makes you feel and I don’t know about you but during a wobble I can switch to numb mode and music helps tease me out.
Orgasms = endorphins and who doesn’t love themselves some endorphins!!!
I know sometimes in the grip on a mental health wobble you just want to put the duvet over your head and pretend the world doesn’t exist and if thats what you have to do to get through the day go for it ! I’m not going to come drag you out to do star jumps in the garden. For me though a walk somewhere pretty can make such a huge difference to my mood. It doesn’t have to be far ,but just fresh air and pretty surroundings are a joy .
Play a game with the kids that takes up all your brain time so there’s no room for unwelcome thoughts .
Play an instrument.
Play a daft game on your phone .
Whatever distracts you for a little while.
Another tricky one to achieve. Whenever I’m very anxious though sounds are so much louder . People talking feels like shouting and ordinary noises are unbearable. A lay in the quiet for 10 mins if at all possible helps me.
Trashy mag if your concentration is screwed . Old fave comfort book that just makes you feel warm. A funny picture book to the kids . A self help book . Whatever makes you feel better.
As I’ve said ,when my brain is too full of thoughts getting a notebook and pen and writing them all down is the best thing I can do to help myself. The instant relief it gives me to get thoughts from my head to paper is just immense . Also means I’ve dozens of notebooks that are the crazed ramblings of an anxious woman but hey it works !!
I can’t go to the theatre and not thoroughly absorb myself in what I’m watching . So that gives the over thinking brain a few hours off duty at least.
I think any of us who have suffered with our mental health will know how necessary having people around you who totally understand are. In this day and age even if that’s some quirky blogger who goes on a bit (*waves*) chatting on social media it still works as well.
Avoid ignorant “pull yourself together ” types.
This is something absolutely out of my comfort zone . However if you’re struggling in silence it’s so important to tell someone you’re struggling. Even if you believe noone can help you. Just tell one person , it will feel so much better.
Doctor Who….my go to thing to watch for comfort or empowerment or even just a therapeutic sob (Face the Raven I’m looking at you !)
Ah come I’ve done well to get here without getting dubious .
I hate to admit that all the smug exercise people are right about it helping but unfortunately they are. As much as I advocate blanket forts and crisps ,I’ve got to admit exercise does give that boost! Those endorphins again.
Quiet , concentration , calm. All good for the anxious over thinking mind.
Sleep. So so so important.
I know when your mind is a whirlwind sleep can seem like fantasy stuff but an early night can bring a better tomorrow. A power nap can be an instant boost. A tired mind is a vulnerable one for those mean voices ,let’s try and give it a head start with a bit of rest !