I was sharing with you not to long ago, how working as a freelancer allowed me to have more time to take care of my mental health. But what do I do when I’m having a difficult day dealing with my mental health, while still having things to do ?
It doesn’t matter if it’s for a job, your business, or even your personal life, knowing that there are things you can’t postpone when you’re struggling with your mental health can be a real burden. With this post, I hope to help you (and myself) get through a ‘busy bad day’, or at least share things that may help make it a slightly better day.
#1. First things first : sleep. If you’re like me, a ‘bad mental health day’ usually starts with insomnia, anxiety, and a fair amount of crying. Don’t force yourself to get up at 7 if you fell asleep from exhaustion at 6. I know you can’t sleep the whole day away (it would be nice, though), but give yourself time to rest, and sleep if you can. It’s okay if you get up at 3pm, you still have a lot of time to do things. The less you sleep, the worse you will feel.
#2. Make the smallest to-do list you can. Try to be objective here, and think about what are the priorities for today. Only write down what absolutely needs to be done today. I would recommend no more than 5 things on your list, because more might be too overwhelming.
#3. Take your time. Spoil yourself. Make yourself your favorite beverage, settle in a cosy, quiet space, and just take it one step at a time. Maybe start with the easiest task on your to-do list ? It will help you to prove yourself that yes, you can do things. As you tick boxes on your list, you will feel that much closer to be done with your work.
#4. Be careful of who you interact with. What I like best during those days, is to shut myself out completely, focus on what needs to be done, so that it can be done quickly. The quicker I am, the sooner I can go back to taking care of myself for the rest of the day. Which means, I will tend to avoid social media, where it’s so easy to see and receive negative comments that may be terrible when my mind is already fragile. I’m also careful of who I talk to among my family and friends. I will tend to prefer to stay alone as much as I can, and only talk to my most trusted friends. So sum up, I think that what I want to say is : avoid all kinds of dramas. Focus on yourself and what is good for you.
#5. If you have pets, spend some time with them. Where humans can wreak havoc on your mental health, most of the time, pets won’t. Playing a little with them can make you feel better, and they also give you a good reason to get out of bed. If there comes a point during the day where you feel overwhelmed, where you feel you can’t do it, go and play with your pet for a little while. And if you don’t have pets, I know this is not the same, but maybe try talking to a friend, or watch silly videos on Youtube, anything that may help you relax a bit.
#6. Be kind to yourself. I know this may be very hard to do on these kind of days, because it’s easy to feel worthless and useless – but keep it mind that you’re only human. We’re not robots, we can’t be perfect and productive every single day of the year (or worst of all, during a freaking pandemic). It’s normal to have days where you feel down, where you just need to take care of yourself, there’s no shame in that. I know it’s harder to love yourself during these days where doubt comes so easily, but try to remember that no matter what, you are worthy of living and breathing, and you deserve to be loved and appreciated.
#7. Take as many breaks as you need. You don’t have to do everything all at once. I mean, you can if you prefer, but if not, take your time. Take a break, then come back. Just listen to what feels best for you. If you can, and want to of course, having a little walk outside might be a nice break too. Just like pets, nature will do you good, but I know that not everyone has access to it (me included).
#8. When you’re done with what had to be done today, congratulate yourself for managing to get through this. Be proud of yourself. Then do whatever you feel like doing, it doesn’t matter if it’s just sleeping. Maybe listen to some music ? It might be very soothing. Read a book, watch a movie or tv series. Just do what you have to do to make it through the day.
These were my ‘tips’. As I’m writing this, I am having a bad mental health day, and writing this blog post is on my to-do list. It’s like the most important thing I will do today. But I know that eventually, I will feel better. I know I need to take care of myself for now, so after I post this, I will probably just read and sleep. Disconnect, to better reconnect tomorrow.
Do you have any tips of your own when you’re struggling with your mental health ? I’d love to hear them.
I hope you are all having a lovely day, and see you next Wednesday !