Top 10 things that help me on a bad day:
- A bath – so soothing to dip my head underwater and blow bubbles. Something simple such as taking the time for a hot bath, some lo-fi hip hop on YouTube playing in the background can really help to ease the tension from the day.
- Flowers – buying myself a bunch of flowers, popping them in a jar or vase and putting them somewhere in my room can make me feel like I’ve made a huge effort to transform the space I am in, making it more colourful with a splash of nature.
- Reading – an easy, uplifting book that doesn’t require much attention. Sometimes I read comics or poetry books such as Rupi Kaur or books on kindness and wellbeing such as the little book of Lykke. These books require very little of my concentration which really helps when I’m struggling.
- A walk – although tricky to get out when I’m in a low mood, I almost always feel at least 10% better when experiencing air on my face and see some wildlife! There are groups such as Step out Sheffield which engage in health walks for people looking for encouragement to get outside more! www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/yorkshire-and-humber/sheffield-step-out-better-lifestyle
- Lists – of gratitude, of simple pleasures, of foods I love, of films I like to watch… making playlists on Spotify is one of my fave things to do! Making a list of your favourite songs can help lift a bad mood and Spotify is free to use if you don’t mind adverts! www.spotify.com
- Talking to someone – even if I can’t handle face to face with a friend I’ll go online at Elefriends or a group chat. Speaking with people who might understand what I’m going through can really help lift the burden of carrying it all by myself and trying to manage alone. Elefriends in an online chat forum ran by charity Mind www.elefriends.org.uk/
- Being creative – putting pen to paper really helps. Writing, drawing, colouring, painting are all things that help me be mindful. If I’m not feeling up for a big session, I just stick a timer on and do a 2 minute sketch of something in front of me. My mum colours mandalas and gifts them to people in small frames, which brings a smile to her friends and work-colleagues!
- Podcasts – for when I can’t access reading, podcasts are great! Being able to sit and listen to something with a hot drink in hand is a lovely alternative when it’s too difficult to concentrate on words in a book. My favourite podcasts are: Star Talk because it’s really easy to listen to but super interesting for all things science, My Dad Wrote A Porno because it is genuinely hilarious and makes me smile even on my down days and The Guilty Feminist for social politics tackled with humour. www.podsearch.com
- Meditation – this one’s tricky one to do but I always feel better afterwards. I use a meditation app called Insight Timer, which has loads of different meditations on there for every mood and of varying lengths. It also has soothing music and soundscapes for if you’re in the bath or being creative – I like to pop it on in the background! www.insighttimer.com
- Moving – I find exercise the most difficult thing to access sometimes. As a trained dancer, my depression has a way of making me feel guilty when I’m not exercising and so I try not to put too much pressure on myself for this. I’ve recently decided to try and inject some fun back into movement and exercise by starting my own Fun, Fitness, Sass Class at U-mix Centre in Sheffield. The class is due to begin its first session in January 2019 and I hope by doing this I can get back into dancing, have some fun not taking it too seriously all the while getting my body moving more!
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