The Self Care Life with Sara Miller

How to Practice Self Care on Bad Mental Health Days

April 24, 2022 Sara Miller
The Self Care Life with Sara Miller
How to Practice Self Care on Bad Mental Health Days
Show Notes Transcript

Woke up anxious and overwhelmed already? Tune in to discover how you can practice self care on a bad mental health day, and hopefully even prepare yourself for a better day tomorrow. 

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Sara Miller:

With 1000 things on our to do lists a lot of us are doing life without any pause, literally forgetting to care for ourselves feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with the constant buzz of anxiety in our head. I strive to help you, the everyday woman to stop and to embrace the power of effective self care in order to reduce overwhelm and anxiety and find nourishment and balance in your everyday life. I'm Sara Miller, and I'm here to help you stop flying through life and start being the happiest and healthiest version of you all by caring for yourself like someone worth caring for. Join me for conversations about self care, wellness, mindfulness, and so much more that will help you find your own self care lifestyle. I'm Sarah and you're listening to The Self Care Lifestyle Podcast. Hello, hello, sweet friends. So this episode is super tardy, and I apologize. I if you've been following along over on Instagram, I've honestly just been having a super super hectic work week. Last week was a very hectic workweek very unexpectedly, it was kind of one of those things where all came on, very suddenly. And I just was kind of overwhelmed and was already behind on podcast editing, because life, Easter haul, all the things should just shit happens, right. But I still wanted to release this episode. So basically, you're just getting to this week, and I know there's a few weeks like that coming up. But yeah, hopefully you enjoy it. And I am so glad to be here with you. So today we are talking about self care on bad mental health days. This is something that I love, love, love to talk about, because it is so foundational. And if you're here, I because you were looking for that, because you're having a bad mental health today, I am so sorry. I know it is so frustrating and so tough. But I really hope that this helps you. So the reason that I think knowing how to practice self care on bad mental health days is so critical is that a lot of times the trigger for improving your self care comes from those bad days comes from being in a place where you're very anxious, you're very overwhelmed, you're very frustrated and over it with life. And being able to start caring for yourself in that place is a great skill set to start with, because you have to start somewhere. And that's where you're starting most likely. And it's a skill set that you're going to come back to when those bad days pop up. As well as really, you're going to reveal to yourself what self care is super powerful for you. So enough about why it's so important. Now we're just gonna like dive on into what my self care looks like on a bad mental health day and my recommendations for you. When I wake up on a bad mental health day I am let's let's go back in time, because honestly, it's been a while since I've had a like, really bad day. I mean, I've had bad days here and there. But I've really learned to prevent those by meeting my needs ahead of time. But let's say going back when I was really just at my lowest struggling with anxiety with depression and just not sure how to like, make the pieces work and stop, not stop feeling that way but get it under control, get it where it wasn't running my life. It was tough. There was days I woke up I did not want to get out of bed. I did not want to do things I couldn't think clearly. It was infuriating. I felt so much frustration and anger but also this deep sadness. So on those days, here's where we're going to start at. First off, you're gonna get your butt out of bed, and I know that is so hard. It is so much easier said than done. But if you were still in bed, you've got to get your butt out of bed. Here's one of my favorite tricks for good Bring yourself out of bed when you just can't even think about trying to get out of bed like it's just so overwhelming, you're thinking about, I've got to get out of bed, I've got to do this, this, this, this, all this, all this stuff, right? start just with the act of getting your body out of bed, count down from five from three, whatever number I don't care. Just count down. And when you hit zero, get up. Don't think about it. Just let your body react to that, like countdown. That's my favorite trick. When you're just like trying to do something, you just need to do it. And you're just like, I keep putting it off or not putting it off. But I just keep getting stuck in that like thought process and you feel like you're literally like physically stuck. So there's that next step, I like to and I still like to, I always have to like do my teeth, brush my teeth, put my context and very first thing that is critical for me, that might not be the same for you. Maybe that is something that's a little harder for you to do. So let's start simpler, let's start slower, you could do something like splash some water on your face, you could go to the bathroom, that that's another thing on the list. I'm doing that like just super basic stuff. Now, the very the next thing on my list and this is like the most critical piece of the puzzle for me to like really get the ball rolling, and start pull my way over the hump. I like to take a hot shower, I try to pull clean clothes out prior if I'm up to it. If not, that's cool too. I will do a hot shower, like scrub my hair, the works washing my hair and doing everything like head to toe. I mean not not shaving, let's be honest, I'm not going to shave my legs when I'm having an off Mental Health Day. It's just the energy's not there, it's probably not going to happen. That's a very high energy thing for me. It may not be for you, it's up to you. For me, washing my hair and washing my body is a way that allows me to feel this like physical reset of literally just like rinsing away the just blah, the like anxiety, the anxious thoughts, the feelings of depression, whatever. Feeling I'm struggling with taking a shower is like the top thing for me to just kind of give a literal like rinsing away of whatever's going on. So from there, and if I'm up for I will listen to like an encouraging podcast music, something like that. But don't push yourself to like, go beyond the like basic stuff if you are not up for it. Once I get out of the shower, it's really important for me to put on like clean clothes that are comfortable, but not sloppy. And I hope that you know what I mean? I think that sometimes it's easy to like put on clean clothes that like make you feel like you'd literally just want to lay in bed versus a cute little lounge set or some active wear or whatever something that's comfortable that doesn't feel like you're gonna go lay on bed all day. So something that you feel okay about your body and that kind of thing. That was always very important to me on those tough mental health days was having like favorite clothing items to wear, if at all possible. And I know that's not always possible if you're behind on laundry, whatever. That's just a step that I liked to take. Next thing open your goddamn windows, open the blinds open the curtains, let the sunlight in. I found that when I was in some of my like deepest depressive periods, I would like sit in the dark and wallow and and I want to be clear that when I'm saying like oh, a wood wall over the wall, I don't want it to come across as me belittling that experience because that is not it at all. I think for me it's a it's a coping skill to maybe make fun of myself a little bit but it's also just about recognizing the need to push yourself that tiny little bit over the edge so that you're not feeling super stuck. So let that sunlight in. Next, we're religious like going through meeting our basic needs right now. You know you're You've taken care of some hygiene, you're dressed, you're letting in some sunlight to feel a little less stuffy, and like, you're just sitting in the dark. So the next thing is like food and drink. So on my really like tough days, I have a really, really hard time feeding myself, that is something that is like last on the list, it is so difficult for me to make it happen. So on these bad mental health days, I like to start with coffee or tea or whatever I'm drinking at that height at the time, it's about starting with something that you know, you can get yourself to make something that's a very low barrier to entry. So maybe for you having things that are like really easy little like microwave breakfast sandwiches or something like that could also be a great option. So from there, I usually would take my take my coffee and start a work day, start whatever the rest of my day is going to look like if that's not a work day, whatever. Um, and after I've like finished my coffee and kind of given myself that little bit of a slow start with, I've pushed myself over the hump a little by getting dressed by showering and all that. And keep in mind, this is very much from the perspective of working from home. And I can give a little more insight into what this could look like for you. When you're not working from home a little later in the episode. That's also something we could definitely talk through together through one on one coaching, which is something new that I'm offering, where we can work through self care together. So stay tuned for more details on that towards the end of the episode, if you're interested in learning how you can work with me. And now back. Now back to the my routine and like what I'm doing. So once I've kind of done my coffee, all that given myself that slow start, I will typically do something like an easy snack and some water like actually hydrate, not just do coffee, start meeting those needs. And that's kind of like it as far as the meeting basic needs. And I think the key points to take away from this are that you are being very aware of meeting those very simple needs. But those very simple acts of self care, things that are not complex things that are not necessarily like fun and sexy, like self care. It's just simple. It's caring for your physical body, it's caring for your basic needs as a person from there. And it's also taking to account that pushing yourself a little bit while still showing yourself some grace and recognizing that today might night might not be the day for a full face of makeup or today might not be the day to shave your legs. It's kind of recognizing that you don't have to go all or nothing you can pick and choose push a little bit. But give yourself grace. For the rest of my day, when I'm having one of those bad mental health days, I like to be very, very mindful of integrating more self care into that day. And really making time for self care. That's very recharging for me. So sometimes that looks like things like calling in a friend phoning a friend, just to talk or to like get my butt out of the house and do something to be able to like have a long conversation and express my struggles and talk through it. There's a lot of different things that could go here. It could be watching an old favorite movie that's just very comforting. It could be reading or journaling. If meditation is your thing, it could be meditation. You guys know how I feel about it. It could be so many things, but it's about bringing some more self care into your day. I think a great example of this. That just happened to me recently because I've been having such a hectic week. And I've been just like off because I've been so so busy and so just slammed it at work. I was very intentional about actually taking my freaking lunch break. At least some of the days I have to admit I was not perfect. But it's not about perfection. It's about Doing something, it's about taking a step in the right direction. But taking your lunch is a great, great way to consider pausing and kind of recognizing, okay, I'm caring for myself in this 30 minutes or this hour or however long you have. And I actually like to do a little yoga session and do some don't eat and try to like, step away from my computer for a little bit. And definitely like mute your notifications, you're on your lunch for a reason. It's not to keep working. So little work life balance thing, and therefore Yeah. So be gentle with yourself, if you can take some time away from your phone. That's, that's a great thing, too. Now, I know I promised a little bit of touching on some stuff for like, if you're going into the office, if you're going to school, for me, when I was having bad mental health days, and I have to like go and be somewhere, my best tip was to be prepared in terms of like having your comfort items packed in your bag. So things like for me, I always like to have a cardigan or a jacket of some kind on hand so that I if I'm cold, if I'm chilly, I can have that or it's almost similar to like the feeling of a weighted blanket of just feeling more secure by having something to like put on and bundle up with a little bit. I like to bring headphones, my phone charger, a water bottle, or an or maybe, maybe a snack. It's really just being aware of what items you might need. That help you feel a little more secure. Also, of course, like your medications, if you take anxiety medications, especially like the like as needed ones, make sure to burn those. And then let's dive back into the mindset piece a little more for if you're going into the office, I think it's important to remember that it is okay to have an off day and not get everything on your to do list done. That is a very easy trap to fall into of like I'm having a bad day and I can't even get my work done and bla bla bla bla bla, and you're just like, down on yourself. Give yourself some grace. Because chances are, by caring for yourself today, you'll have a little bit better of a day tomorrow. And you'll be able to do a little bit more and catch up a little bit. And then if you're in that prevention place, one of my favorite things when you know that you still have these bad mental health days pop up, is to work ahead, work ahead so that you're not feeling so passionate when you're like struggling to finish your stuff. Or if you need to put it off for a day, I really like to be like a week ahead on as much as I can be. So for instance, in my current full time role, I do a lot a lot of email marketing, and I try to have all of my emails for the following week, prepped by Friday, hopefully approved by Friday and like scheduled, but at least pretty much ready to go so that when things happen it's not as stressful so whether that's things like me having a really off day, or things like me, other like work emergencies coming up. With school, I used to try to do something similar. I tried to work ahead as much as I possibly could I would often work in bulk. I took a lot of took a lot of online classes my last couple semesters, which allow me to do a lot of I had a lot of like assignments and less attending lectures, which I preferred because I learned better by doing than sitting and just having somebody talk at me. So I would sit down a couple times a week like two to three times a week and do all my homework in one sitting and the other days I was free to do blog and podcast stuff, do freelance work, all that kind of stuff. But that really helped me to utilize those higher energy days to focus in on that work and getting ahead a little bit just so I wasn't so stressed out when those bad days popped up. So I'm just to like, round it out. The things that we really covered today. We talked through knowing how to push yourself just a little bit when you're having a bad day. Giving you Soft grace and being kind to yourself and when if you're not listening to this on a day that you're like already having a bad mental health day preparation being prepared when you know that this is something that you struggle with is something that's very very helpful when these days pop up. You know that okay, you know you have your set of self care that you do you know, you're slightly ahead on work so that you're not like stressed out worried about not meeting deadlines because you're struggling to think today or struggling to just function. That's kind of the key stuff. So I hope this was super helpful. And thank you for your patience in me getting this and me get the line this episode multiple times. But I'm so glad that I am sharing it with you and I hope that it brings you a lot of support. If you're having a bad day. Hey, sweet friend. Before you go, I want to share an opportunity with you. I'm offering one on one self care coaching via Voxer a walkie talkie style app where we can exchange voice messages or text messages, whatever it needs to be self care. Voxer coaching looks like having me in your pocket for unlimited encouragement, advice and support Monday through Friday. Together we will work through how you can build effective and sustainable self care into your life as well as navigate the overwhelm anxiety and frustrating mindset blocks that may be preventing you from practicing self care right now. Ultimately, I can help you build your own self care lifestyle that will help you reduce the constant buzz in your brain and the exhaustion that comes with it and leave you feeling more nourished and balanced than ever. If you're interested in learning more about this opportunity reach out to me via Instagram at Sara strives or email me at hello at the self care lifestyle. Thanks again for tuning in to The Self Care Lifestyle Podcast. I will talk at you or hopefully with you again soon.