At the moment, my life isn’t being obedient to what I’m telling it to do, and I’m sure a lot of you are feeling pretty similar in some way. I am trying very hard to look at my situation from a ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ or some other cheesy quote which is just a more eloquent way to say ‘fuck it’, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. So, instead, here are some ways I’ve been putting in the effort to improve my mental health: (and they’ve actually been working)
Running Away from My Problems (Not literally)
For the first time in a very long time, I’m finding myself to be enjoying exercise. The last time I enjoyed exercise was when I danced at a studio from the age of 7 and stopped when I was 13. I can’t remember why I stopped, I just did. I realised recently that the only time I have enjoyed exercise in my life was when I was genuinely doing it for fun and not as a way of losing weight. Exercising without focusing on weight loss is the best way to exercise, in my opinion. I think a lot of people struggle to enjoy exercise because they have only found exercises that help them lose weight and not exercises they genuinely enjoy. Personally, I enjoy exercises that increase flexibility and lung capacity without being high-cardio, sweaty workouts. These include swimming, yoga, and Pilates.
Switching things off
I hadn’t realised how important it was to detach yourself from technology and give yourself a detox until recently. Now, I more often make sure I switch off everything before I go to sleep. I try to make my bedroom a technology free zone, and leave my laptop and phone charging in another room (unless I need an alarm, of course). It’s really important to make time to zone out, whether that be for an hour or a whole weekend! If you’re terrible at relaxing like me, set yourself reminders to relax and don’t take certain devices with you on your holidays!
Caring for myself in little ways
There are many different ways to indulge in self-care. I have recently developed a skincare routine – something I’ve never bothered with until recently. Something as simple as setting yourself an evening routine for skincare can help you to switch off, and its empowering to know you are taking care of yourself.
Keeping a ‘happy book’
Keeping a journal where I document my happiness has been the most helpful thing I’ve done towards increasing my mental health. Purchase a lovely looking notebook, journal or diary and write down every time you are happy, or were happy. Stick in photos, letters, print off text messages and write about someone you love. Anything that makes you beam, put it in the book! Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat. Then, on the nights where you feel most alone, whip out your happy book and make it your night-time read.
Expression and hobbies are important. Things like writing a blog, painting, or taking up a sport is so important for self-expression and helping you switch off. You can’t worry about the problems in the back of your head when you’re focused on something else!
Treating Myself More Often
This one’s probably the most fun! I’ve been allowing myself to indulge in things more often. Of course, I don’t do this to an extent where it affects me negatively or puts me in a position where I can’t afford things like rent or food, but if I fancy pizza, then I order it! If I want a new cardigan, I buy it!
Remembering that it’s NotForever
This is a hard one to do but it’s important to remember that everything is temporary. Happiness curves. It’s not always constant and sometimes it’s hard to grasp, but it does come. It hides in your favourite coffee mug and paints itself on sunrises or on the person you love’s smile. It grows with the flowers poking through the cracks in the pavement and sits in the middle of you and your family’s board game. I know everything can be kind of hazy and painful but you will grow and it will be wonderful. Your happiness will come and it will be the best feeling.
I hope this helped! Let me know how you’re improving your mental health in the comments below!