10 Things to do on a Bad Mental Health Day

Author Note: This article is part of a collection from the previously lost Bordering Bears website, and has thus been re-uploaded and archived.

We all have our good days and bad days. It can be quite straight forward to complete tasks when you feel positive and upbeat, but what about those days where you don’t feel quite right?

Whether you are struggling with your mental health, feel run down, are suffering from burn-out, or even if you have a cold, then this article is for you.

As always, I want to remind you that I am not a medical professional, and these are things that have worked for me.

1. Rest

Our bodies need sleep to grow, remain healthy, and fight illness, but you should keep to your sleep schedule to ensure you benefit from it properly. If you feel run down or simply not up to scratch, resting is fine. If you need to spend a couple of hours, or even the day, doing nothing then that’s fine.
Use the time to decompress and relax. This may help you deal with your emotions later.

2. Write

Scribble. Draw. Paint. Whatever it is, find something that will help you express how you’re feeling. Even if you’re run down or unwell with a cold, writing can still help. You could use this to make a plan to stop you reaching burn-out again, or simply to take your mind off any physical symptoms.

3. Hydrate properly

Good day. Bad day. In the middle day. Whatever day it is, you should still ensure you are drinking enough water.
Yes, water.
While for some it may be tempting to turn to another kind of bottle for solace during a bad day, it won’t help. Trust me, I’ve been there at times.
Hydrate yourself with water to keep your body healthy, but also to allow for clearer thought processes.

4. Think of your hygiene

It can be tempting to wallow the day away on the bed or sofa, especially when I have just said that rest can be good. Please, if you can, try to look after your hygiene too. You don’t have to shower and do your hair and makeup if you don’t feel up to it. A face wash and brushing your teeth is enough. You may also feel better for it.

5. Eat

Again, you don’t have to cook an elaborate meal, but it’s important to still look after your health.
I have had many a day where I didn’t feel able or capable of cooking my own meal. I had to ensure that I ate and, more importantly, Feena ate. We had takeout frequently when things got bad. It wasn’t ideal, but it meant that we still had some sustenance.

6. Talk it out

As cliché as it sounds, talking really does help. Open up to a trusted friend or family member. If you talk about it, you may feel better after opening up. Likewise, you may also be able to use your trusted person to bounce ideas off of to solve your own problem.

7. Practice self-care

I will never, ever stop preaching about the benefits of self-care. Ever.
For me, self-care has been the difference between a pretty bad day and an all-out breakdown. Self-care may not solve all your problems, but it may help you feel more grounded.

8. Hug

While this may be difficult for some during the current lockdown, for others this is still possible if you’re someone who thrives on affection.
Cuddle it out. Ask your partner/kid/cat/goldfish for a hug.
Please note, not all people like physical contact, and this can trigger negative emotions in some, so always ask first!

9. Watch an upbeat movie

Now is probably not a great time to be watching a tear-jerker. You already feel crappy enough as it is. Put on a positive movie. Kids films or comedies are great for this, and can leave you feeling just a little bit warmer when they’re done.

10. Speak to a professional

If you are having a seriously bad day and are having any worrying thoughts, feelings or urges, it may be worth speaking to a professional for advice and support. If you feel you are a danger to yourself or someone else, please present yourself to your GP or at A&E as soon as possible.

There is no shame in needing help. There’s also no shame in having a bad day. While everyone has them, some of us find it more difficult to maintain a sense of normality and carry out our usual tasks.
And that’s usually okay!
Make sure you make the time to look after yourself and seek help if you need it.

If you, or someone you care about, is in crisis, please remember to check the HELP page for a list of professional contacts.

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