Anxiety & Depression: Tips For Down Days

Monday, 1 August 2016

If you’re anything like me, you’ll struggle to pull yourself out of a down day, and even if you can think of ways to make yourself feel better, you lack the motivation to do these things. One of the things that has helped me is having a physical list to refer to at them times, so here are some ideas of things you can try. Things that have sometimes been of help to me in the past.

Make lists. List’s are great because they are a form of organisation. I personally make lists for everything; shopping, packing, blog post ideas. Even better, create a list of things coming up that you have to look forward to - gigs, birthdays, family events, anything. Being organised physically helps organise your mind. 

Make a playlist. Music is my biggest success for helping to calm me down on the brink of a panic attack, so create a playlist ready for them times. Or even better, create a playlist with “feel good” music, and listen to it. Dance to it. I find mellow, piano based acoustic music to help me when i’m feeling anxious, but if i’m just feeling down I need more upbeat sounds to occupy my mind with happier thoughts and bouncy beats. If you're interested, I have two playlists for both of these themes that i'm constantly updating on my Spotify. Follow 'Mellow Anxiety' here, and 'Upbeat Anxiety' here. Also, the process of actually creating a playlist is good to keep you occupied and organised, so I definitely advise creating your own, maybe make several of different genres, or one for a particular friend.

Clean & Tidy. As much as some people find tidying a drag, “a tidy room makes a tidy mind”. It makes you feel productive and accomplished. Once you've tidied your room, run yourself a bath. Put one of your playlists on, or watch one of your favourite TV shows in the bath. I recommend Friends - Friends always puts you in a good mood.

Be creative. Some people think they’re not the creative type, but being creative isn’t just about art. Sure, it’s great if you can distract yourself with drawing, painting, knitting, any kind of craft, but creativity can come in so many different forms. Writing, for example, is a great form of creativity. It doesn’t have to be poetry, it can literally just be sentences that don’t make sense on a page. Keep a diary, create a scrapbook. I personally have a scrapbook of all my gig tickets, which I like to look at if I want reminding of good memories. I am also really into adult colouring books - you don't have to be an artist to colour in! I personally recommend the Johanna Basford collection. 

Go outside. This is one most people (including myself) struggle with, but it is so important. If you feel like you can’t get out of bed; you can! Just go for a walk around your local area, or to a park. Seeing children playing and dogs walking can be a simple way to occupy your mind and make you feel happy. If you live local to a lake, water is a great way to keep yourself calm. Take photographs, turn these photographs into a scrapbook. Use an app to count how many steps you've done that day, document everyday. There are so many simple every day thing you can do to help make yourself feel accomplished. 

Stay hydrated. If your down day results in you crying a lot, it is so important to stay hydrated. A lot of crying can make you feel weak and cause headaches, so drink plenty of water, and eat something sweet! As much as you may feel like you just want to stay curled in your weepy slump, keep energised the best you can. Remember it's okay to cry, but it's important to look after yourself afterwards.

Communicate. It’s important to not shut yourself off from your loved ones when feeling down. Although you may feel like you just want to be alone, this can often make you feel worse. Text your friend, hug your mum, take your dog for a walk. Don’t sit in silence - sing. Do anything vocal. Don't sit in silence.

Start reading a new book. Try and go for something you wouldn’t usually read, one of them 99p offers on kindle, something out of the charity shop. Going for something out of your usual interests will cause you to concentrate more, therefore occupying your mind with something new and different. If something new isn't for you, re-read your favourite book - this will bring back good memories.

Even if you accomplish just one of these thing that day, be proud of yourself. Reward yourself. Don’t dwell on the fact there’s still many things you haven’t done - concentrate on seeing the positives of what you have done. You've got this.
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