Basic tricks to survive the days when everything seems to go wrong.
There are some days when just doing the simplest things gets a bit harder, or days when we feel low or even full of sadness. There are days when we don’t happen to see the positive side of what we happen to be living in our lives or days when we are not exactly at our best.
But that is ok.
Those days need to happen in order for the better ones to finally show up. We need those not so great moments to inspire ourselves to create better ones ahead. The truth is, we don’t happen to choose which days will be bright or which ones will be a bit darker, but we can learn to deal with those though days better. There is a lot of room for growth when we make an effort to understand and accept our own feelings and emotions and, for that end, there is no better specialist than ourselves.
Here is my list (I genuinely love lists so much I had to keep this one short for this time) for those not so great moments. To be honest, there are so many other things that I have tried besides what I mention here (some of them worked pretty well, others basically didn’t work at all, others were even worse than the problem itself and so on and so forth), but the ones listed here have never failed me to overcome those days, and I want to share them with all of you.
So voilà, let’s start!
1. Be patient with yourself
If there is something that I’ve learned over the past year and that I wasn’t particularly good at before, is to be patient with myself. It is SO important to give ourselves all the time and the room we need to grow and to overcome difficult times. The year that my anxiety/depression was at its highest all I could do was to “be patient”, to “give myself time to heal” and genuinely to just “trust the process”. All I could do was really trust that at some point I would recover and feel more myself than ever, trust that all the pain and suffering had a meaning and a way of making myself better, trust that the hell that I was going through wasn’t stronger than my own self. But obviously it wasn’t easy. I had days when I felt guilty of my own illness, days when I felt lazy because I literally couldn’t find the energies to move, days when I felt like a failure because I couldn’t be “productive” (my absolute favorite word back then!).
It wasn’t until I learned to be patient with my self that I could experience a significant change in my feelings and emotions. It wasn’t until I was more loving and caring with was I going through that I found the strength I needed to fight the darkness right back and, believe me, when I was finally did, I found myself stronger than ever before.
In short, do not rush yourself into “feeling great”, but rather learn to treat yourself with respect, love and patience on a daily basis. The rest will eventually fall into place sooner than you think (and it is really pointless for you to worry).
I used to say that all that “breathe” thing was a massive nonsense, something that couldn’t help much in reality, but I guess I was very wrong. Breathing is everything, it gives you the strength, the power, the kind of peace of mind that you really need. Becoming more conscious about “breathing” has helped me A LOT when I have had anxiety. I genuinely just try to focus on how I breathe, how the air comes in and leaves my body, and how grateful I am for being there, able to feel that air right back again. You don’t need to meditate in order to feel the benefits of it, you don’t need to feel the greatness of the Universe or something “Zen enough” while you do it, but if you manage to focus on how you are breathing you realize that it helps you to really put things into perspective (no matter my circumstances, I am here, breathing, and that means that I have another chance to live the life that I want and that I am surviving whatever it is that I am facing – I’m a warrior!).
Breathing won’t change your life, but it will help YOU to do it yourself, believe me.
3. Get in touch with Animals and/or Nature
I know, I know, humans should be first here (some people may say). However, in my case, my dog has helped me way more than I can probably explain. Some days I had no energies to reach out to other people and ask for help and all I could do was to stay close to my dog and just hug him. He would know when I was sad, anxious or what have you and he knew exactly how to make me feel loved and appreciated with extreme care and unconditional support. I am guilty of loving animals way too much and maybe this tip is more subjective here, but some days all you need is that kind of love that only pets can give - and pet owners know this really well!
Something that helped me too was to try and get more in touch with nature. It can be something as simple as buying a plant, or maybe something like getting some outdoors action, visiting the beach, the mountain, whatever it is that you can relate to a more peaceful state of mind. Anything, really! It is amazing how being more connected with nature can totally change your day (or even the weeks that follow!) and recharge your batteries. It is by far one of the best medicines I’ve ever tried!
4. Drink plenty of water
It may sound silly, but if you don’t drink enough water you will feel weak, and feeling weak while you are sad is not fun so, just in case you are confusing being sad with feeling weak, drink your water! It won’t hurt and it is a healthy habit!
5. Treat yourself with activities that bring you peace of mind
I am thinking of things like listening to good music (whatever it means for you, don’t accept other people’s critics here), watching a great movie (again, a great movie for YOU) or reading a book that you could find inspiring (try to avoid sad stories here, I’d encourage), but there are really plenty of things that can help you boost your mood. I’ve named the ones that worked best for me, but every person has its own list, so be ready to discover your own and use that to help you on those not so great days!
6. Move your body!
It is a classic. A passive body is a sad body, so really try to do anything from going for a walk, dancing to running. Basically anything that involves “moving your body”. Period.
However, big disclaimer here, if you are going through an episode of extreme fatigue and you can’t genuinely move your body, don’t be hard on yourself and try to use other ways to feel better. Remember that you are not lazy, you are just ill but you will definitely feel so much better! Give yourself time and trust the process, because nothing lasts forever, nothing at all!
7. Write! Write! Write!
Writing has been one of the best cures of my illness that I can think of. It has helped me connect with myself and it has helped me to be present (because, you know, “the Mindful Pumpkin”). I have learned to love my imperfections and my own story through writing and I think its side effects are simply just solid gold. Good news, you don’t need to be especially talented or artistic to benefit from its effects, because all that matters is that you are ready to open your heart and let it all out.
Disclaimer: Highly addictive activity.
Pro Tip: Make a gratitude list! (I know you probably heard it like a thousand times but I’ve done mine with that same thought in mind and surprise surprise…I felt relieved afterwards! So: Why don’t you give it a chance? You might end up thinking “I am not that unlucky after all”!).
8. Have a long shower/bath
Have a relaxing warm and long bath or shower (whatever you like best) and try to forget about the sadness and heartache for a while. Some bad times can be washed off by this method (at least the tears?) and, worst-case scenario, you will feel way more relaxed and your body will thank you for it afterwards!
Nothing to lose and some granted relax time to enjoy is a win-win in my books!
9. Reach out for help
I know this one sucks. Asking for help? Me? No, thank you, I can handle this! Who do you think you are talking to? I’ve got this!
I know all that believe me, but sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to ask for help (I learned this the hard way!). Call the people that really care about you, call your mum, dad, brother, sister, friend, neighbor or whoever it is that would be there for you. You don’t need to tell them the whole thing, but it might help to tell them that you need them, and I’m sure that they will do their best to bring your smile back or at least, stay by your side and give you all the support and love you need until you get it right back!
Please do not hesitate to ask for help, it can really make all the difference and you deserve to be taken care of!
10. Cry if you need to – and don’t feel weak for it
Yes, do cry if you need to cry, but please don’t feel weak because of it because sometimes we cry because we have been strong for a very long time and we need a break. And it is okay, perfectly okay, you still got this, I promise! (Just make sure you go back to number 4 and drink your water afterwards!).
11. Have a good night sleep
No matter what happened during the day, please take a rest and sleep the best you can. The day, no matter how hard it has been, is over and now is time for you to switch off and take time to have a restoring sleep. Believe me, you’ve earned it!
Tomorrow will be another day and, who knows?, it might even be sunny.
12. Remember that this, too, shall pass
This one goes along with number 1 (Be patient with yourself). The bad day, bad weeks, bad months, bad year will eventually pass, no matter how impossible and unlikely it seems now. You can only trust the process and do your best to love yourself more everyday, no matter what the outside circumstances are. What you are going through is creating a resilient being capable of transforming the pain into power and you will be able to see that with your own eyes sooner than you think.
Always remember: Everything can change in the blink of an eye!
I’ve done my list, now is time for you! What would you add to this list? Is there something that doesn’t work for you? Something that always does? Have you created a brand new way to cope with those kinds of days?
Please comment below and let us know!