As typical human beings, we all have our fair share of good and bad days. Some days feel like a breeze, whereas others may make mundane tasks – such as getting out of bed – a burden.
As someone who has struggled with major depression in the past, I know how brutal it can be to go through the motions of each day, despite feeling excruciating emotional pain. I know exactly how it feels like to feel so upset that you lose your appetite and your chest feels like it’s caving in from all the pain you’ve been enduring.
Through experiencing multiple of these types of days, I’ve found ways to cope and function much better than I otherwise would have in the past. Whether you’re going through a breakup or a devastating loss in your family, you can utilize these tips to help you navigate through life with your pain.
Here is a list of the coping methods I’ve used in the past to help myself heal and feel better (even if it’s merely temporary):
- Give yourself time to feel sad.
One popular misconception is that it’s best to conceal your feelings in order to make those around you feel happy, but the truth is that you need to give yourself adequate time to mourn over what’s causing you so much grief so you can move on in a timely manner.
It’s way too agonizing to contain all your emotions for months on end, so allow yourself plenty of time to lie in bed all day, eat ice cream, sleep in, and not be productive. This will help you feel much better in the long run – trust me!
- Find one productive, yet simple task to do every morning and night.
Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel upset for a bit, it’s time to find something to do to occupy yourself! When you’re going through a tough situation, it’s best to fill your time with activities that fill you up with elation rather than despondency, which is why I suggest brainstorming ideas for ONE simple and productive task you can do each morning when you wake up and each night before you go to sleep.
By “simple and productive,” I’m referring to activities that are healthy for you, but take less than 10 minutes to accomplish. This can mean meditating, cleaning your room, practicing positive affirmations, reading your favorite book, writing in a journal, or deep breathing – it’s entirely up to you! As long as you enjoy it, it won’t feel like an added chore to your daily schedule.
- Find 3-5 people whom you can trust and confide in them whenever you feel down.
You should never go through your bad days alone, so find people in your life who understand your emotions and can give you great advice whenever you’re feeling your worst. This may include your mom, dad, sibling, best friend, significant other, teacher, therapist, etc.
I recommend selecting a small circle of friends simply because quality always transcends quantity. If you share your deepest, most intimate feelings with 20 other people, they’re bound to circulate it like wildfire. Choosing 3-5 people whom you completely trust is essential to feeling like your private life isn’t being violated.
- Get busy.
Once your feelings have begun leveling out and you feel ready to get out of your house, it’s time to gradually start adding more fun plans onto your plate. Text your friends and ask if they’d be willing to grab some ice cream with you one day, or watch a movie with your siblings. Start filling up your days with meaningful, wholesome activities that will occupy you from your hardships.
However, be wary of adding too much on your schedule! It’s great to spend quality time with family and friends, but if it’s starting to feel like a burden, then don’t feel guilty when you want to reschedule. It’s crucial that you have enough time for yourself so you can properly heal and rejuvenate.
- Don’t harbor any grudges.
If you’re going through a breakup or anything of that caliber, learn that it is best to let go. Yes, feeling angry does give you some temporary relief, but holding that grudge for a long period of time can be internally destructive in the long run.
If holding grudges is your strong suit, find healthy ways to release your anger. This may mean resorting to vigorous exercise, or even writing a letter to the person whom you’re mad at and crumpling that paper up immediately afterward. Whatever coping mechanism works for you, try it out whenever you’re feeling angry or hurt so you can feel better instantly.
- Spend some time outdoors.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a total homebody, spending a few minutes outdoors may help you feel much better in a short span of time. There is actually scientific evidence that states that going outdoors to bask in the sunlight is phenomenal for your mental health.
If you don’t have much time to spare, try spending just 10 minutes outside your house. You can walk your dog, read a book, water your plants, or take deep breaths as you stroll down the street. No matter which activity you select, however, make sure that you’re consistent with it!
- Try something new.
Going through your day knowing what to expect can be tedious, so choose one day out of the week to try something new! Whether it’s eating that one food you’ve never had the chance to try or shopping at a different store, it’s always nice to freshen up your routine so you have something to look forward to – even if it’s merely one day out of the entire week!
Personally, my favorite way to try out a new activity is to bake my favorite sweet treats every other weekend. One week I would bake chocolate chip cookies, and the next I would make brownies.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth like me, you can try reading a new book, doing one thing that scares you, attempting a different makeup look, or even studying somewhere new each week.
- Remember to love yourself.
Going through the highs and lows of life is never meant to be a simple process, which is why it’s incredibly important that you take care of yourself during this rather uncomfortable time in your life. Whenever you feel weak, don’t blame yourself; rather, be patient with yourself and know that whatever you’re enduring will pass soon.
Construct a loving, trustworthy support system that you can turn to any time you feel distressed. Occupy yourself, but remember to stay balanced. Make time for yourself so you can adequately heal. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water. Get lots of rest each night (but not too much!). Help those who are suffering or going through the same situation. Know that you are a unique, beautiful person who deserves all the happiness and love in the world. Once you realize that, there is nothing in the universe that can stop you from reaching your full potential.