Welcome! And thank you for tuning into my second article of its kind; in what will hopefully come to be a series of “How To’s”.
Next up, “How To: Turn ON an OFF day” Tips for helping navigate through the tough days.
*These tips are not intended to treat or diagnose in any capacity. They are merely suggestions and moments of my own experience- enjoy!
How To: Turn ON an OFF day
I have touched a little on the topic of self-talk and mental noise, overstimulation etc. Today’s HOW TO will hopefully provide some tools and tricks to improve your mood on those days you don’t feel like your best self.
Its true that we need to honor both our “good” and our “bad” days; listen to our bodies when we need to reset & rest. If we don’t take the time to rest then most likely our bodies will do that for us when most inconvenient.
BUT- there are times when our bully brain tricks us, we really aren’t feeling up to par, the to-do list seems impossible, your hair isn’t cooperating…you get the point. It’s easy to want to de-rail the whole day, throw in the towel, call it a “bad day” and that’s that. From experience, labeling this “bad day” doesn’t get easier or better…it usually gets worse- all because I am going through my day with this “bad day lens” or the perception of my bully brain instead of actively doing the work and changing it.
The harsh reality- SOMETIMES you gotta suck it up and flip your mental script. Take charge of your mood, your attitude and circumstance one moment at a time.
Now here is the tricky part, when you’re in that headspace you’re not going to WANT to feel better or do anything MORE.
Therefore, my first piece of advice is to maintain your emergency self care plan when you’re feeling GOOD. Prepare for those blah days so when you’re feeling low you have some tools to boost you!
What’s an emergency self care plan, (ESCP)
This is your flashlight of sorts; so when you acknowledge that your switch is OFF these tools will help guide you back to ON.
Here are a few things I include in my own emergency self care plan:
I created a playlist and I add songs that really pick my mood up or make me wanna dance. If I feel a little OFF, I can turn this on and find some relief. I am always adding songs to this list!
This one can be a little dependent on the responsibilities of the day. But a dark shower typically helps me reset and focus.
Take Care of your Spaces
Make your bed, tidy living spaces, one load of laundry. I don;t recommend trying to do it all BUT knocking one small task off is helpful. I used to view these things as daunting chores, become flustered or frustrated with the ongoing to do list for maintaining a house- well now I get to take care of my spaces and it feels good & satisfying.
A solid 3 page brain dump always seems to help get out of my own way. It’s okay if you can’t commit to 3 full pages, just start writing whatever words, thoughts, colors or themes come up. Writing affirmations is also a great place to start-The idea here is to empty your brain onto paper, no judgement or action needed.
10 or 20 pages to distract then redirect my focus. This helps me reset and return to being present from a new lens & space.
Stretching & breathing
3, 5, 7 or 10 minutes to tune into your body and your breath. Sometimes the most tension we’re experiencing is from our own breathing pattern. Take a few & check in with you.
Chocolate Milk/Coffee shop Coffee
I love a good cold glass of chocolate milk or a specialty coffee. Here I recommend a snack or treat for a little indulgence and satisfaction.
Notice these things do not include cancelling or not doing. It’s all about taking action, differently! Include the things that lift you up and are available. Maybe its spiritual and spending time in prayer, maybe it’s meditation, maybe stretching or music and art, indulging with a sweet treat or spending 5 minutes outside in sunshine.
Your emergency self care plan should be specific to you and it should not be dependent on any external factors such as others, large amounts of money, time, etc. Obviously if I could say “No thanks Tuesday, I’m going on vacation instead…” I would.
Seriously Be realistic & simple; I highly recommend including things that focus on these 3 joy, laughter, and feelings of satisfaction.
Reset as many times as you need to.
My daughter and I call it a restart. You take a few deep breaths and tell yourself the next moment is a chance to restart your day, begin again. A few positive affirmations and a reminder that we can move forward with our day despite the previous moments.
& I think it’s important to recognize the patterns of your “OFF” days.
Hard truth: you are in charge of your days, your mood and present circumstance; stop blaming others and giving your power away.
What is the onset of these OFF feelings?
When/where did you take notice of this- identifying is key to noticing the patterns and breaking out of a victim mindset.
Did you get enough sleep and rest?
Sleep and rest are different and similar, both equally important to live a balanced lifestyle.
Are you hydrating and eating adequately?
Hydration and eating adequately is personal and important; you have to be in charge of your input and output. Incorrect deficits can leave you depleted.
Are you on social media; what are you following & engaging with?
Use social media for the brilliant tools they are; connect with people who inspire and motivate you. Find groups to network and learn from. Following trends and celebrities can be fun and distracting but can keep you stuck there- it’s ALL behind a screen after all.
In summary How To: Turn ON an OFF day
Identify your OFF day status. The sooner you recognize that you’re not feeling 100% the sooner you can start to manage it. Allowing yourself to be in tune with your mental and physical body is key.
Revert to your ESCP. Utilize the tools that help you, some times you’ll need more than 1 and other times what worked one day may not work today- & that’s okay. The more fluid you are with yourself and present needs, the more fluid your days become.
Make it happen; start, restart, reset, start again. Always, every time. Keep showing up for you.
Depression and mental illness are very real; I believe if we want to give ourselves a chance we need to put in the work. However, If days persist in which you find no joy in most things, please reach out for support & seek a professional- life is beautiful and you deserve to experience that too.
You got this!