Being overwhelmed by your depression and anxiety is an inevitable part of living with a mental illness.
Here are some mental health hacks that I often use to change my frame of mind.
Like when my negative thoughts are getting out of control and nothing I do feels right…
Or my relentless anxiety is taking me hostage and showing me no mercy…
And when I feel like life is working against me, it’s beating me down, and winning!
Sometimes you just need a good distraction to get back in the “right frame of mind” and this time, you win, not the depression.
I hope these diversions can help you get back in control of your emotions, calm you down and get back on track.
Warning: some of these strategies are kind of silly or may seem a bit bizarre but, I am a little twisted anyway, so just use the ones you are comfortable with or you can say fuck it and step out of the box.
When I have a panic attack, I tend to hyperventilate, so I breathe… four counts in… hold it in four counts… four counts out…hold it out four counts…then repeat until you are no longer hyperventilating.
Make sure you’ve had enough water to drink and try to keep it healthy, I enjoy vitamin drinks. I also suffer from migraines on top of everything else and if I am dehydrated it makes them worse. But sometimes you just need a Frappe’ or a Blizzard. Yum!
Have you eaten today? I suck at making food a priority, especially when I am feeling sad. I would tell you to make it healthy but sometimes a cupcake is all it takes to improve your mood.
If you are tired then take a snooze, it’s amazing. Sometimes it’s ok to give in and do nothing at all. Just stay. You can also go to bed early, it feels really weird, but in a good way. I sing myself to sleep, I concentrate on my favorite song, and I can hear the melody perfectly in my head and sing the words from start to finish. The mind is an amazing thing, it remembers every note and what the voice singing to you sounds like. There is nothing like singing your own lullaby.
BATH IN BUBBLES.
Take a bath with lots of bubbles, I mean way too many bubbles and use something that smells delightful. Lavender is very calming. When you are done, (I know this sounds, um, weird) try letting the water drain out while you are still sitting in the bathtub, it’s a really interesting sensation feeling the water trickle down your skin.
If you prefer, take a shower. Try starting with really hot water and then slowly make it colder and colder. See how long you can take it before cranking the heat back up.
Sometimes I love getting all dressed up and totally accessorized. I am a glam girl at heart but with a dark side. So I love black, blue and purple lipsticks and sparkling eye makeup with black glitter nail polish.
Light a candle, Sugar Cookie is my favorite or use a spa scent mist diffuser. I have one and it is awesome, they have scents specifically designed to help with your mood from soothing lavenders to medicinal eucalyptus. Awesomeness!
Your favorite songs turned up loud and all-consuming or one particular song on repeat that takes you to a place in your heart and where you can feel it touch your soul. I love that feeling (Sing for Absolution by MUSE would be the song for me)
Step outside into the sunshine. The sun is like a miracle, nothing else in this world has the power to warm you like it does. It’s beautiful, radiant and warm.
Get some coloring books and color outside the lines if you want, cuz that’s how you roll girl. No one said they have to be adult coloring books or books at all, technically it can be anything you can think of.
CHALK IT UP.
Get some chalkboard paint. Paint a wall in your house with it and just start drawing or writing something, anything. Then just erase it and start over! My wall sometimes has flowers with butterflies and sometimes it has nothing but profanity…
Go ahead, it’s okay to buy something just for “you” once in a while, something expensive you have always wanted or if you’re on a budget, just go crazy at the dollar store. I love shopping at Goodwill.
Put on some comfy clothes and binge watch a tv show, you know it’s so fucking awesome. I love, love, love “Supernatural” and it works wonders for my mood. Hey, are there any Sam and Dean fans out there? If so, check out Jared Padalecki (Sam) he suffers from depression and talks about it, his thing is “Always Keep Fighting”. He is truly inspiring!
Snuggle up with your favorite person, animal or stuffed friend and watch something you never thought you would like. Give a “B” movie a try, maybe an indie film or a genre way out of your comfort zone. I just watched Drowning Mona, so funny, if want to step out of the box! It is one of my favorites now!
Have a good cry, I mean let it flow, face soaking wet, uncontrollable sniffing and shaking all over. It does the body and soul good. It’s an emotion that is often neglected out of fear of showing weakness. It is NOT weakness, it takes courage to let go! So be snotty.
PUNCH DANCE YOUR RAGE.
Yep, it sounds weird, but go crazy while dancing, with your arms and legs flailing around, Footloose style, you remember that movie, right? (or Hot Rod for you obscure movie buffs out there) Or like the whacky waving tube man, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you! I’m a Dork!
READING RAINBOW TIME.
(This was a tv show way back when… that encouraged reading, for you youngsters out there) Read a book and no it doesn’t have to be an actual book, grab your iPad, Kindle or phone and read. It can be funny, sad, scary or self-help. The point is to get immersed in it or learn from it.
This one is kind of self-explanatory but just write or type what you are feeling. It is very therapeutic. I do it every day, then I share it with you.
Lots of people hate to exercise or is it just me? But, if you do something like cleaning your house or gardening, that totally counts. I personally chase after 5 fuzzy ferrets (yes, I have 5) for a couple hours twice a day when they have their “outside cage time”. Fun and exhausting J
Reading these can be very comforting because they remind us that we are not alone, that someone else has felt the way you do and had the courage to share those intense feelings with us and to them I say, thank you for sharing.
Scrolling through the endless pins that make you happy, sad, and mad can make the time fly by. I could do it for hours upon hours. The choices are endless really, make your own boards, and give it a try. Check out my collection of boards on my Pinterest Page
Try a new hobby because you never know what you’ll love doing until you try doing it. Like cooking, knitting, painting or bird watching. Take a walk around a hobby shop, you will be like, damn, who knew there were so many things to do with my hands.
MEDITATE . . . OM.
Take some time to just “be”. Pray, chant, hum, or say your mantra. Whatever you believe, whatever brings you peace.
These sayings are true. “Knowledge is power”, “The more you know” and my favorite “Nerds Rule”. I’m a proud nerd.
Anyway, I hope you have learned a little something here today.
Hopefully one of these hacks will work for you, as they have for me.
We must do whatever it takes to help us stay strong and healthy.
Living with a mental illness is so hard to do.
We didn’t choose to have a life with a mental illness but, we do have a choice on how we live with it.
Stay Strong and…
Always Keep Fighting…