It can be hard to stay positive. It can be hard for us all. This week’s posts have been about mental health but I’m quite conscious of not being too negative or seeming like I’m just having a good old whinge. But, in the same breath, I want to keep the Mental Health Awareness series going. So today I thought I’d share with you some of the things that can help me to stay positive when I’m not feeling great:
1. Family and Friends
Let’s face it, they’re the best for pretty much anything. But all it can take sometimes is just a simple message saying “I love you” or a text out of the blue asking how I’m doing. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there are people out there who care about you when you don’t really care about yourself.
Well, exercise generally. One of the first things every doctor I’ve ever seen about depression and anxiety has asked me, is how often I exercise. Now I’ve heard people saying that they’ve been to their doctors for help only to be “prescribed” a nice, long walk. This is unbelievable and not an acceptable way to treat people. Mental illnesses need to be taken seriously and certainly aren’t something that can just be “walked off”. But, sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly anxious or I’m worried about something, running really does help. It’s by no means a cure but it can take the edge off the overwhelming feelings sometimes. Regular exercise also helps with health and energy levels generally which is always a bonus. Even more so when one of the things I struggle with most is low energy with depression.
3. ASMR Videos
I came across these by reading a random blog post about them. I can’t remember which blog but I want to say thank you to that person for introducing me to them. ASMR itself is an odd one to explain and I don’t fully understand it. What I do know is that I can put a video on, with my headphones in and be asleep within 30-45 minutes. They have an unbelievable calming effect on me (I’m a big fan of the make up ones, as well as the Reiki ones too). A word of warning though, they’re really not for everyone and I know a few people who really cannot stand them. The beauty is that the variety you can find on YouTube is huge so there’s plenty to choose from.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that I love writing. I have two blogs that are up and running. I have three major projects in the pipeline – two books and an online course. The books are years off being finished but there’s something very cathartic about picking up my notebook or laptop, finding a nice cafe and writing bits of an imaginary story whenever I need an escape. Writing more seriously, like for Flourishing Freelancer can be great in a different way. I have to focus on research and the content being correct so much that I can often forget about other things.
It makes me sad to write this as one of the things that helps me because I don’t get to do it anywhere near as much as I used to or would like to. But travelling is amazing. It really helps me a lot. I think partially it’s getting away from everyday things. It’s also partially the distraction of exploring somewhere new and partially the space it gives me to think and figure things out. There’s something about travelling that’s eye opening, humbling and exciting all at the same time. I know a lot of people who fight depression and anxiety (particularly the latter) worry about travelling. Especially travelling alone in case their symptoms worsen whilst they are away. Like everything mental health related, it’s personal – what works for someone, might not for another. But, for me, packing my bag and setting off on an adventure, whether alone or with someone else, brings me so much happiness. So, there you have it, the top five things that get me through the tough times. Let me know what yours are.