If you follow me over on Instagram you may have seen me talk about how I was having a bad anxiety day last Thursday. I hopped on my IG stories to talk about some things that I do when I have a hard day. Then I promptly cried and did none of them because I was feeling extremely defeated. But, I will say that after a phone call from my sister and a team meeting for my internship (and Von finally going down for a nap that day) I started to feel a little bit better.
I used to want to control my anxiety. Because I thought that if I could control it, I wouldn’t be sick anymore. But, the thing about a mental illness is that it’s exactly that, an illness. When you get the flu you can’t control what your body does. If you get cancer you can’t tell your body to heal itself because that won’t work. And having a mental illness is the same, even though it’s taken me over 2 years since my original diagnosis to accept that.
What I can control is my reaction.
A few weeks ago I was talking to Griffin about how I wished I could just be normal and function like a ‘normal’ person. I say it like that because his response has changed the way I view a lot of things in my life. Griffin said that this is my normal, and I need to embrace that. Instead of fighting with my anxiety, I need to learn how to react to it differently so that I can cope in the way that I want to.
Light bulb moment.
Maybe that seems simple to you, but for me, it was a big thing. And I’m so glad that he said that to me because even though I still have panic attacks, bad anxiety days, and nightmares from my PTSD, I am able to better control how I react.
Three things to do when you’re having a bad mental health day.
Get up and move your body!
Seriously, this helps me so much. Sometimes this means I turn on some music (I love this playlist on Spotify,) and I dance around with Von or while she plays on the ground. Other days this means I go out and take a walk. And sometimes this means I walk around my apartment and clean up a bit. But I get up off of the couch and move. Moving helps my brain and my body and I always feel better than just sitting on the couch all day (which I have done)
Write it out!
Journaling helps so so so so much. I promise. It will help. Write what you’re feeling or about your day. Write about your dreams or a list of your favorite books or anything really. Taking the time to put your pen to paper will help clear your head. During a session of therapy, my therapist once told me how grateful she was that I wasn’t afraid to pull out a notebook and just start writing. She told me that a lot of people don’t do this step. Even though I am a writer and writing comes naturally to me, I think I would do it even if it wasn’t natural. Writing helps clear your head, and when I’m in the middle of anxiety brain (that’s what I’m calling it now) writing everything out helps me to get out of my own head and then I can start calming down.
Drink some water and fuel your body with something good.
My go-to snack is potato chips or popcorn or chocolate chip cookies. And while I love these treats, they don’t fuel my brain and body in the way that is always helpful. I still eat them often because I love them, and I’m all about giving my body what it wants (another subject for another day, but if you want to learn more about that I seriously recommend checking out @heytiffanyroe on Insta.) Anyway, when I’m having a bad mental health day I make more of an effort to put good things in my body.
Eating well and drinking plenty of water is how I can take care of my body. I may not be able to make the anxiety go away, but I can do something to take better care of my body and that’s important for my brain too.
Those are just some of the things I do when I’m having a bad mental health day. I’m not an expert in the subject and always recommend talking to a doctor or therapist if you are struggling. But these are things that help my bad days be a little better and more manageable. What do you do on bad mental health days?