Hello there. I’m feeling a bit rubbish.
After a few months of feeling gloriously good, I appear to have hit a little bit of a wall and have been feeling, to put it bluntly, a bit crap for a few weeks now. At first I thought it was just PMS, but two periods came and went and, well, here we are.
So instead of moping about and digging myself into a little hole, I thought I would share with you some of the things that I’ve been doing to make myself feel a little better while I wait for the wave of sadness to pass over me. Because we all know it isn’t going to last forever.
Self care is kind of a subjective thing, so all of these things might not work for you. But I know that the one-size-fits-all “just put a face mask on and relax” approach is a bit tiring for me now, so here’s a few fresh tips to try out if they tickle your fancy.
1. Make quick, easy comfort snacks
Sometimes I just want to curl up in bed with a bowl of cake and watch cat videos. So that’s what I do. I’ve found a really easy vegan recipe for a cake that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and make, and I highly recommend giving it a go if you’re craving some comfort food.
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons of hot chocolate powder
3 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of salt
A sprinkling of baking powder
2-3 teaspoons oil of your choice (coconut oil is a fab one, but vegetable oil works too)
3 tablespoons milk of your choice (chocolate oat milk is delicious, as is almond)
You can add in flavourings too, it’s all down to your taste!
Whack all the ingredients into a microwavable bowl, mix them all up, and pop the bowl in the microwave for a minute and a half. And that’s it! It’s super quick and easy, and really delicious too.
2. Start a bullet journal
Bullet journalling has honestly made the biggest difference to my organisation, and my mindset. Planning out everything that I need to do every month, week, and day has helped me to tackle all tasks, no matter how big or how small, and it really helps to keep me motivated when I don’t feel my best. Plus, it’s really fun to get creative with my spreads each week, and it gives me some quiet time to myself while I plan and decorate.
3. Delve into a good book
When I started to feel down, I was plodding through Nabokov’s Lolita. As much as I was enjoying it, it become a little heavy going for me once I started to feel low, and I stopped reaching for it. I was craving something a little more lighthearted, so I switched it up. Books are a great comfort if you can pick the right ones for your mood. If you’re curious, the book I’m currently digging into is Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres – I highly recommend picking up Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by de Bernieres if you haven’t given that one a go yet, too. They’re great summer reads to dig your heels into.
4. Spend time with animals
Animals aren’t like people. They will happily sit there in silence while you weep on them or tell them all your problems, and they never ask any questions. Luckily for me, I have two snuggly guinea pigs on hand, but if you find yourself lacking in the animal department then there are some things you can do. Borrow My Doggy is a website where you can sign up to spend time with other people’s dogs, or you can always find out where your nearest animal shelter is and spend some quality time with the animals there.
5. Disconnect for a little while
Time away from your phone and social media is a cleansing experience. You don’t have to cut your phone out of your life completely, but reducing your time online can be really helpful sometimes.
6. Keep something soothing on hand
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by day to day life. I’ve found that having something small that I can distract myself with has made a big difference to my anxiety levels. This kind of thing will be different for everyone, and it might be something as simple as a little token that brings you peace, a bobble you can fiddle with, or an app that works on calming you down. I’ve tried a lot of apps targeted towards soothing anxiety, but one that I’ve found works the best for me isn’t actually made for anxiety at all. You’ve probably heard of Neko Atsume, the cat collector game. It’s available on Android and iOS, and it was kind of a hit a while back. Though I didn’t jump on the kitty collecting train the first time around, I found myself thinking about it a few days ago and decided to give it a go. The cute little animated cats and chirpy music are somehow a great comfort to me, and I’ve found solace in this strange little game over the past few days. Their faces are just so darn happy!
7. Make a list of things that you’re looking forward to
This helps me to think forwards rather than letting myself get lost in my current low mood. Don’t worry if the things that you’re excited about aren’t monumental or life changing, and don’t put any pressure on yourself to think of an exact number of things. Right now, I’m excited to start my new job, move in with my other half, and graduate, but I’m also excited to have pie for tea at some point in the near future and to use my Tesco Clubcard for the first time (yes I am a boring adult, why do you ask?). The little things can be just as exciting as the big ones, so don’t skip out on listing them.
8. Let yourself cry
That’s it, let it all out. It’s all absolutely fine. Remember that it’s okay to cry and to get frustrated, as long as you can acknowledge that this feeling isn’t going to last forever. Trying to shove these feelings to the back of our minds and pretend they’re not there isn’t helpful. Understand that your mind is having a bit of a wobble, and let it do its thing.
9. Find your comfort show, and watch it
We all have that one TV show or film that makes us feel a whole lot better when crap starts hitting the fan. For me, that’s Bob’s Burgers (it’s an adult cartoon, but without being rude. A real feel-good show you can watch with your mum), but you can throw on whatever you like. Just surround yourself with comfort from all angles.
10. Wash your sheets
Everyone loves the feeling of fresh sheets. Need I say more?
11. Don’t be tempted by sad songs
My default when I’m feeling sad is to shoot straight for my sad songs playlist, but they actually make me feel a whole lot worse. Putting on something that’s soothing but not so tear-jerking, or skipping out on the music altogether, can really help. Don’t allow yourself to sink into listening to Radiohead on repeat – I tend to gravitate towards my friend Ezra’s Proper Mellow playlist, because it’s chilled out but not sad. An all-round good combination.
12. Set small goals that are easily achievable
Giving yourself little things to achieve throughout the day, week, or month can give you something to work towards, and make you feel great when you accomplish them. Whether it’s deciding that you’ll wash up all the plates you’ve left in your room today, finishing a book by the end of the week, or saving up enough money to buy the jumper you’re lusting after by the end of the month, taking little steps towards doing the things you want to do actually add up, and can help to boost your mood.
13. Have a social media cleanup
Delete, unfollow, and unfriend. Having a declutter of your social media sites and removing all the people who you’re not in touch with anymore, make you feel a bit rubbish, or you compare yourself to can lighten up your feed and your mood. It feels like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders when you whittle your Facebook friends list right down, trust me.
14. While you’re at it, declutter your wardrobe
Get rid of all the things you don’t use anymore. There’s no point clinging onto things that have only been sat in your cupboards and drawers for months on end. Clearing out your belongings can give you a new lease of life, I’m telling you. Get your stuff to the charity shop, or sell it if you’d like. You can use the extra cash to treat yourself to something nice.
15. Communicate your needs to others
Whether you’re gently letting your friends know that you need your space and alone time, or if you’re asking for specific help, it’s important to let the people around you know what it is that you need from them, if you need anything at all.
16. Try to go outside, or at least open your windows
Fresh air and sunshine are underrated. Even if you’re just popping into the garden to eat your breakfast or nipping to the shop to stock up on more biscuits, you might feel a real difference.
17. Keep your mind active
Even if your body isn’t up to doing much, try your hand keeping your mind active. You could try learning a new language by spending five minutes a day on a site like Duolingo, or start a free online course in something you’ve always wanted to learn. Distractions are good, and you’ll feel even more productive.
18. Don’t feel bad if the sad feelings don’t pass as soon as you’d like them to
You can follow every rule of self care in the book and still feel low. Let these feelings have their time, understand that sometimes these things are beyond your control, and just do the best that you can. There are heaps of things that can contribute to low mood, whether it’s hormones, diet, stress, or whatever else, and there’s no magic wand you can wave to make all those things disappear. Ride the wave, because it won’t last forever. You’ve got this.