I woke up in a cracking mood today, it’s currently 27 degrees in London which is bliss, I’m working in the garden shade and feeling thankful that I can sit outside and enjoy this space, I’ve had a couple of calls to keep the day from dragging, I had a nice night last night watching Grey’s Anatomy with a glass of wine (sobbed at the end of season 2 cos I’m late to the party) I had a lazy lunch time with my book and this evening plan to go for a walk by the river. I’ve been kind to myself this week and despite yesterday starting off a bit crappy, I picked myself up and recognised that I wanted a good week and didn’t want to spend it feeling sad.
Obvious disclaimer that I’m not an expert but in honour of Mental Health Awareness week, I thought I’d share some of the things I do to get myself out of a slump. A slump is that down day feeling, not feeling particularly motivated or excited for anything, not able to make up your mind about what you want, perhaps things are getting to you more than they would do and generally, you just feel a bit ‘meh’. It’s a feeling that can come and often passes but 1 in 6 of us will have experienced a common mental disorder in the past week and for many, this feeling doesn’t always pass.
With our worlds completely up in the air at the moment, it’s no surprise that depression and anxiety has risen – they call it the corona-coaster don’t they? For lots of us, every day is different – super emotional and lethargic one day, on top of the world the next. It’s exhausting. But during all of this, its more important than ever to recognise if you’re just having a down day or if every day is down.
For those down days, here’s what I do:
Accept the slump, let it go – With the pressures of everyday life, online and offline, one of the hardest things about waking up in a slump is the feeling that you’re the only one in the entire world that is feeling shit. Everyone on Instagram’s off eating avo on toast for breakfast, waking up at 6am or doing tonnes of housework and you’re over on the sofa after 14 hours sleep wishing you could sink into it and avoid everyone. Step one for getting out of your slump is actually to just accept you’re in one, acknowledge your feelings and make a mental note that it’s all very human and what you see online, isn’t.
Keep a journal, gratitude list – I’ve kept a diary most of my life and preach that without it, I might not have got through some really difficult times – I’ve always spoken pretty openly and if I feel like I can’t, I write down my thoughts and reflecting on the day before bed kinda sets the mood for the next one. I also, as you probably know if you read a few of these things that I write, that I often try and list what I’m grateful for or things that have made me happy. Honestly, I don’t know how it works but taking 10 mins to list out (even in your head) what you’re grateful for, does wonders for squashing some of the bad stuff.
Find your escape – What do you enjoy? What puts you in a good mood? What helps you mindlessly escape from the things you worry about? Sometimes, my escape is to sit on my phone – online shop, scroll through Tiktok, watch an episode of Kardashians and these are all things that help me relax but I do try to find escapes that aren’t online, baking or reading a book. Sitting in the sun for 10 mins with a coffee. Having a bath.
Treat yourself – Goes hand in hand with finding your escape but sometimes if I’m in a slump, to be honest, I just need a bit of a pick me up. Might be a £1 Milkybar from the corner shop, might be a new dress from Zara, it might be having a glass of wine on a Tuesday school night, it might be making a smoothie or putting on a face mask. Do something for you.
Take a minute/slow down – Sometimes you might find yourself in a slump if you need a minute to take a break. If things are overwhelming but you carry on at 100mph, you’ll burn out. I’m guilty of not letting myself stop for a second when having too much on my mind – if it’s all too much, take a time out. Go somewhere peaceful, prioritise your to-do list and focus on one thing. Your mind will thank you later.
Eat your favourite foods – I’m a big comfort eater and to be honest it’s a borderline issue in itself but genuinely believe a bit of decent food, cooking your favourite meal or treating yourself to a dessert you may not normally have helps take the edge off, especially at the end of a stressful day. Indulge if you wanna indulge and don’t beat yourself up about it.
Go outside – I’m getting better at this and can confirm, as much as its annoying to hear every active bugger go on about it, that getting outside does help. Sit in the garden, have a walk around the park, walk to the shop rather than drive. On the days that my head feels ‘full’ going for a walk or just being outside in the fresh air has never been a mistake.
Make a plan – If you’re in a slump, the last thing you want to do is be productive. I really struggle to get back my motivation if I’ve lost it but sometimes, finding a project, cracking through a to-do list or having something to focus on or look forward to can help get you out of your own head for a bit. This one’s not easy and sometimes, just focusing on right now will do the trick, but if not – get the diary out and make a plan.
All days are different and we don’t all deal with them in the same way. I’m a big believer that your day will be as good as you allow it to be. 9 times out of ten, if I wake up with a strop on, I’ll go to bed feeling a little deflated. On the days that I tell myself today will be a good day, chances are, they usually are. Not always, there’s lots of special cases and life isn’t easy but being kind to yourself is usually a good place to start.