You know those mornings when you wake up not necessarily on the wrong side of the bed, but on the wrong side of yourself? Then, for the rest of the day, you feel so deeply entrenched in misery that you simply can’t shake off?
If you’ve ever had difficult moments like this, you are not alone. It’s something many people have experienced but do not readily speak of. I know this because that scenario has been my Wednesdays for the last month.
It’s hard to open up about your internal struggles. Whenever I’m having a rough mental health day, I tend to keep quiet and keep to myself, but I know that keeping my emotions bottled up is not a beneficial solution. When seeking professional help is not required, not accessible, or something you’re not yet ready for, what can you do to save your sanity?
To remedy the bad days, I’ve been working on tackling and completing these five daily actions. In no way are these quick fixes for mental health challenges, but the hope is that by fulfilling these actions, you can find purpose in and anticipation for your daily life, and ultimately get closer to a place where you can see yourself as worthy as you truly are.
Start the day by doing something that gives you hope.
Some people kick off their mornings with a workout to get their hearts pumpin’, some people listen to their favourite song to get motivated, some people meditate to set their soul at ease. Do whatever makes you feel refreshed and in the right mindset to go about your day. For me, I look up to the sky. There’s something reassuring in knowing that someone, somewhere is looking at the same clouds and seeking comfort from high above as well. We’re all just humans searching for belonging and meaning in this vast existence of ours.
Name three things you are grateful for.
This was inspired by my friend Steph‘s #NightyGratitudes, in which she lists three things she is grateful for before the day’s end. This exercise gives you time to reflect on what is important, what really matters to you, and what gives you reason for living.
Yesterday, I was grateful for:
- Volunteering with kids. You learn such fascinating things from little people, like how to make origami flowers and the names of each station along the London tube.
- My friend Sam, who shares Pusheen comics and corgi photos she comes across online with me. Somehow, they always come right when I need a little cheering up (her timing is impeccable)
- Working at an office in downtown Vancouver with rooftop views like this.
Find one thing to accomplish by the day’s end.
Send that email you’ve been meaning to send that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Read that article that’s been sitting and waiting in your bookmarks for God knows how long. Finish colouring that page in that colouring book you’ve been chipping away at. Whatever the task is – small or big – find something achievable that you can give yourself a pat on the back for finishing. This is a particularly good daily action if you’re feeling purposeless. And don’t forget to treat yo self with a small reward after you’ve reached your daily goal. Buy that ice cream cone – you deserve it!
Reflect on what you have learned.
Identify and articulate something you learned today. It could be a life lesson, something about yourself or other people, or a fascinating fact. Reflecting on what you’ve learned is a good reminder that every day is a learning experience and an opportunity to grow as a person.
Write down something you are looking forward to.
A trip to Paris, a reunion with a friend who’s returning home from a year-long exchange, a concert by your favourite band. Write it down and put it on a put-it note beside your desk or somewhere that’s visible to you. Once that event has passed, write down a new one. It’s helpful to have something exciting to countdown to and is a nice way to lift your spirits up on the long, tough days.
What are some of your tips for finding peace of mind amidst the chaos?
Photography by Yaoqi LAI.