How To Get Through The Down Days
Down days are pretty damn demoralising, and generally draining and awful. The bright side to this woeful tale, however, is that there ARE ways of getting through the down days as smoothly as possible. It’s a learning curve, and no one does the right thing all the time, but that’s okay.
The first thing to focus on when experiencing a down day is demolishing your anxious thoughts. Anxiety and low moods are the worst of partners in crime and feed off of each other. If you’re feeling anxious you’re likely to go on to feel down, and vice versa. So what you need to do is dispel your irrational fears? Try writing down what you are anxious about, and then looking at alternative explanations to how you are feeling. The input of another person can be really helpful for this in order to shine a more realistic light on the situation. Chances are you’ll come to the conclusion that your friends don’t really hate you, you’re not going to die alone and you’re not going to fail in life.
If your anxiety is being caused by a problem which needs attention, then the only way the anxiety can be banished is by tackling this problem. If you feel left out by your friends, text them telling them how you feel, or if there’s a task that you’re putting off, take some steps towards doing it. Most things will have some kind of solution.
Once any anxious feelings have been dealt with, it’s time to deal with that stubborn low mood. Simple acts of self-care form an excellent foundation for making your day brighter. Make sure to brush your teeth, wash, stay hydrated and eat good food. These things alone will improve your sense of well-being and can push you to be active. If you are unable to leave the house/be active, that is perfectly fine, as long as you look after yourself.
If you are especially struggling during a down day, these small tasks such as brushing your teeth can even be easier said than done. This is where activating yourself comes in. To ‘activate’ yourself basically means enabling yourself to live out day to day activities, and it consists of two steps.
The first step is about monitoring your activities to see what makes you feel good and fulfilled and, on the opposite end of the scale, what doesn’t. You can then plan your days in advance (write out what you want to do) so that you have direction and things to aim for and look forward to. This, as previously stated, requires some planning, so in a situation where you need to activate yourself immediately, step two is what is needed. The second step of activating yourself covers motivating yourself to carry out activities. One tip that I find particular useful is to break tasks down into tiny sections to make them more achievable. Instructing your muscles to do things, such as “legs walk to the bathroom, arms brush teeth” is an effective solution for when your brain just isn’t complying with your good intent. I highly recommend reading this document which covers the method of activating yourself in full.
- Find what comforts or bring happiness to YOU. Different things work for different people. Some ideas include: watching your favourite show or movie, doing something from your childhood, pampering yourself, taking a walk, singing along to music, writing, reading, drawing, colouring and spending time with family, friends, or animals!
- When you are feeling helpless or useless remember all the times you have succeeded.
- Bring happiness so others can bring happiness to you too. Compliment someone around you, or even a stranger on the internet. Making someone smile is a great way to realise your own worth.
- Do no give up if you feel unable to do something. Take smaller steps and try again.