Staying Afloat on ‘Down Days’

Today is a one of those down days. This morning, it was pretty easy to hit the snooze button. Much harder to pull the curtains back. It’s one of those days where everything just feels ‘off’ right from the word “GO”. Living with depression, or other mental health issues can sometimes feel like each night of sleep is a round of Russian Roulette. Either waking up ready to take on the day — or stuck in a day of misery. Many who struggle with their mental health simply refer to these as “Down Days”.

If you find yourself cursing your mental health as the morning coffee brews, you’re not at a total loss. We have several tools at our disposal to combat these down days. If we allow them to bend us to their will, the down days will become the everyday. By following a simple pattern of acknowledgement, flexibility, self love, and vocalism we can learn to healthily cope with these dreaded down days.

Acknowledge the Down Days

The very first step we must take in tackling our emotions, is to simply acknowledge your true feelings. This can be an extruciating process at times, as you must really put your emotions under the metaphorical microscope. Putting how you feel to words, humanizing the antagonizing emotions.

There is a learning curve involved in pinpointing emotions. Depression has a way of evolving and overtaking without the host even noticing what is happening. I’ve come to learn the typical signs of my depression, and can usually pick out the red flags when I notice them.

Be Flexible — Don’t Burn Out

After acknowledging that today may be tougher than expected, we are capable of being mindful in our energy use. Simply being aware that our tasks will require a physical push, we can limit our exertion.

However, this effort can easily fall to a balancing act between flexibility and procrastination. It becomes a lesson in time management. We don’t want to burn ourselves out, yet we can’t our mental health to dictate our actions. I like to write out all of my tasks, prioritizing them by urgency. Then, I evaluate whether or not the list is doable in my current state. Just being more mindful in these decisions can extend the longevity of our good days.

Set Something to Look Forward To

Down days often feel as though they will never end. This is especially true after a slew of them in a row. Whether your days lead you to an endless social media scroll, the typical monotony of your workday, or if you just lay in bed. It is hard to feel excited about anything in particular.

Find something you enjoy and fully seize it. Set time aside, allowing you to indulge in enjoyment. Often times I will delve into a digital world of a video game. Other times, I write articles or work on InTake Create as an entity. For many, ‘self-love’ tactics are perfect to employ at this stage. Face masks, makeup, haircuts, bubble baths, or peaceful walks — find something to remind yourself that loving ourselves takes input and time, just like any relationship.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

My biggest fault in my daily battle with mental health, is that often times I try to ‘brave-face’ it and go through the day pretending nothing is wrong. An unfourtunate side effect of the Rambo nature, is that I fail to communicate with my wife that my head is actively working against me. This failure in communication is only going to accentuate the stressors, and place a divide when it should be a mutual support. All that it would take would be saying “Hey, this is kind of where my head is at today…” and we could open a discussion on both of our mental pictures, clearly stating what we need from each other.

Moving forward, I have to vow to myself that I will continue to utlize my combative tools against my mental health. When I close my eyes, and explore how I feel, I will encapsulate it, acknowledge it, work with it, and vocalise it.

Thanks for reading — Spread some love today.

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