Unfortunately in life, we must endure the lows with the highs. We are forced to witness and deal with death, loss, disappointment, and pain. I can tell you from experience, that one of the worst feelings you can feel is waking up in the morning and wondering how you’re going to make it through the day. I’ve been diagnosed with crippling anxiety and depression. I constantly remind myself that there are others who have it worse and truthfully they do. Though some days that doesn’t help with the side effects of bad days and mental illness. I wanted to write down a list of things I do and probably should do more often, when I’m having really bad days. I hope this finds you some ease.

  1. Go outside: The first thing I always do is go outside. Sit and take in the fresh air, listen to the sounds around you, feel the grass, watch the leaves dance in the wind. This is a grounding technique I use. It helps me refocus and it’s been proven that nature can lift up your mood.
  2. Avoid social media: I’ll find myself in this vicious cycle of scrolling and sliding my finger down my smartphone screen to refresh the page without even thinking. I mean, do I really care what everyone is doing and eating at all hours of the day? No, but it becomes a habit. Take a day off the internet, then try a weekend, then a week and then a month. Trust me, it helps!
  3. Drink more water: This one is hard for me because I LOVE my ice tea but we have to kick them sugary drinks to the curb.
  4. Take a nap: A nap can do wonders when we are stressed. Can’t fall asleep because of stress? Try one or all of these ideas: drink a cup of hot decaf chamomile tea, take a hot shower/bath, yoga, read a book (somehow that always puts me to sleep).
  5. Exercise: Get those happy chemicals released to your brain. Dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in happiness, is a neurotransmitter in the brain that’s necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness.
  6. Cry: There is no shame in crying. I normally put on the movie ‘The Notebook’ when I need a good cry.
  7. Take a sick day at work: Needing a mental day to recuperate is no different than being physically sick.
  8. Learn to say no: Try to keep your schedule clear of doing more work and favors for other people. Focus on you.
  9. Call someone you love: Like your mom or dad. They always seem to know what to say.
  10. Seek professional help: There is no shame in asking for help. It took me a long time to get up the courage to see a professional and now I wish I did it sooner. Also, don’t feel defeated if you’re prescribed medication. Taking meds for mental illness is no different than taking meds for high blood pressure. You can’t control what your body does!
  11. Do something you love: For me it’s art and being crafty. I love to paint, crochet and I recently found a new love for painting pottery!
  12. Remove anything in your life that is adding unnecessary stress.
  13. Volunteer: Look for opportunities to serve and help your community. Volunteering is proven to make you feel happier and leaves you with a “high” feeling.
  14. Join a support group. There are other people out there who are going through the same things as you.
  15. Make a list: Make a list of things you want to change in your life, and then come up with an action plan. Contact us at Family Strengthening Network to speak with one of our trained Family Advocates, they can help you do this.
  16. Eat healthier: Ditch the fried and processed foods.
  17. Set a small, achievable goal for yourself each day. Track your progress.
  18. Go out-of-town for the weekend. Escape to somewhere that makes you happy. I personally love taking the drive to the mountains in Virginia or the countryside in Lancaster, PA.
  19. Go out to lunch with a friend: Sometimes socializing and hanging out with someone I love helps me get out of a funk.
  20. Ask for help: You don’t have to do this alone. There are people who love you and want to help you.
  21. Write in a journal: Write about your feelings, thoughts, and ideas.
  22. Remove toxic people: Cut people out of your life who tear you down. You are worth more than that.
  23. Clean: Maybe this is someone that just works for me? But something about cleaning and having a clean house makes me feel less stressed and more comfortable. Try it!
  24. Spend time in the sunlight: Get some vitamin D! If that’s not possible, fill your house with light.
  25. Write down one thing each day that you are grateful for.
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