None of these will be as easy as they sound if you’re truly struggling with your mental wellbeing. Trust me, I know because that’s me sometimes. Like yesterday. And this morning as I write this. But knowing the struggle, and being determined to not allow it to overtake me, is what inspired me to write this—to hopefully bring some encouragement and practical ideas to those who, like me, struggle with their mental health sometimes.
Here are five things I do when my mental health is not healthy; I hope they help you too:
Get out of the house.
That little cave you’ve built for yourself? That haven of social isolation and Friends on repeat? Though it may feel safe, there is a good chance it is actually doing you more harm than good. Of course, we all need our alone time sometimes, but when sometimes turns into all the time, you may start to realize a dark cloud coming over that once haven of yours. When that happens, it’s a sign it’s time to move.
I don’t know if this is scientific or not, but there is something to say about getting dressed. You tend to feel better when you look better. When you brush your hair and get out of your oh-so-comfy pajamas and put on a new shirt or your favorite jeans, there’s a chance you will start feeling better about yourself and feel more motivated in general. Like I said, scientific? I’m not sure. But I did it this morning and it sure did help.
They say exercise is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental health because of the endorphins that start firing in your brain when you work out. However, when you don’t even want to get out of bed, the thought of exercising can make you feel more paralyzed. So instead of feeling like you have to head to the gym in order to get out of your slump, I encourage you to simply walk. It doesn’t matter if it’s to the mailbox and back, just get out and get walking. Those happy brain drugs will still start waking up, and you may even feel good enough to take a longer walk around the block.
Get doing what you enjoy.
This one seems so basic—like it should be a no-brainer—but in the midst of a true mental health slump, it can be one of the hardest things to do. Because what do you really even enjoy doing when you’re feeling like you hate your entire life? It’s hard to figure it out, but there are things. And even if it doesn’t feel like you’ll enjoy doing them in the moment, I urge you to give them a try and see what happens.
When you’re in a good place, write down three things you love to do. And when you’re struggling, look back at that list and do one of the things. It may be what helps you get back to a better place.
For me, one of those things is going to a cute coffee shop and writing—what I’m doing right now.
Get praying people around you.
I’m still working on this one, but I can imagine how life-giving it can be. Because first, you’d be surrounded by people who know you and love you—great. And second, you’d be praying to the One who has joy abounding in love just waiting for you—even better. So don’t be afraid to call a friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for prayer. And, though I’m sure you already know this, and may even be tired of it, don’t stop praying. God is for you, even when it feels like He isn’t. I don’t understand it, but I know it’s true and that is my hope, even in the hardest times.
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