Looking After Your Mental Health
Some days we wake up and just don't quite feel ourselves.
Whether it's a result of sickness, anxiety, a burn out, or an emotional struggle, these days can knock us off our feet and change our whole persona. And I truly believe that the people closest to us struggle with multiple days like these and we don't even know about it.
I have a pretty sweet set up right now. I live 80m from the beach in Australia, I work from home, I have a very supportive family, a boyfriend who constantly makes me laugh, girlfriends to drink way too much Prosecco with, and the sun pretty much shines every day. But some days just feel a little harder than others and often, I don't know why.
Some days it's a real struggle to get out of my pj's and into real life clothes. Sometimes sitting at the laptop all day feels like the most impossible feat. Some days I feel inexplicably sad and some days I wish I could go home to England and just cuddle my mum, instead of seeing the world and constantly meet new people.
Life just feels hard sometimes.
But I'm starting to understand how to look after myself on these days.
The best piece of advice I've ever read to help pull yourself out of these dark moments, is to allow your brain to recognise the emotion. You say, "ok, I recognise that I'm feeling sad/anxious/unsure of myself". Then you visualise plucking the emotion out of your chest and holding it in your hand. Breathing deeply, you then ask yourself why you feel this way and work through the reasons so that you can begin to understand what has triggered this feeling.
The act of engaging your conscious mind and recognising the emotion for what it is, stops the feeling dead in its tracks because suddenly, reason has entered. You're no longer feeling the spiralling emotion which can take over your body (through crying, panic attacks, shaking hands), but instead you're stopping for a moment to find an explanation. We all have our own methods, but for me, this has been golden. Even when I'm grumpy in the morning. "Ok, I'm grumpy because I love my bed and I'd rather lie here scrolling through Instagram than get up and work" - Great, Lauren. Stop being lazy, buck your ideas up and if you work hard, you can take a nap later.
Works like a charm.
There are many reasons why these days creep up on me. Firstly, the pill. Or as I like to call it, the fun sucker. Secondly, being so far from home and my loved ones. And thirdly, just being an adult who is trying to balance her finances, commitments and passions in a world which can be really overwhelming.
So make sure you look after yourself on these days. Take a day off from work, if you can. Nourish your body with good food and treat yourself to things that make you happy - sofa days, movie marathons, books - whatever works for you.
And remember, your mental health needs as much care as your physical body. Be kind to yourself.