Bad days happen.
So do good days but sometimes when you are stuck in the middle of a bad day, or a run of bad days, good days can seem like a distant memory.
And we all have a different perspective on what constitutes a good day.
When I was in the midst of my nervous breakdown a good day was getting out of bed -- a great day was getting out of bed, having a shower and getting dressed. Thankfully those days are now just a passing memory and good days look entirely different. Now, a good day might be having lunch with a friend that lasts until late afternoon, or spending the day watching movies with my husband or watching my grandkids playing on the water slide in our front yard or crafting a blog post for my website or recording audios for my new program -- it is different things on different days.
But bad days still happen. These days it is more of a sense of quiet desperation rather than the overwhelming sense that everything sucks and is never going to get any better.
This Monday was a bad day -- not for any significant reason, just a bad day. I have been pushing myself hard to get my on line program launched wile also organizing a large family gathering that lasted a whole week followed by a smaller family gathering a few weeks later with a different branch of the family. Mixed into all of that was my youngest son heading off overseas for who knows how long (hence the first gathering). And then all that frenetic activity finished and then Monday rolled around and I just felt... flat, like one of those helium balloons three days after the big event -- not completely deflated but not all glossy and new either.
If my breakdown taught me anything it was that self care is vital to good mental health. So I curled up with a book and read for the whole day.Then when I was out feeding my chickens that afternoon I thought of my mental checklist for shifting my mood from flat to fabulous and realized that it is actually worth sharing so here you go;
(1) Have you eaten? Sounds simple but often when we are feeling less than 100 percent we postpone eating or eat only junk so taking the time to check in with yourself as to when the last time you ate and whether it was a healthy choice can be a game changer. We have all heard of those who get "hangry" -- angry because they are hungry -- maybe that is you too.
(2) Have you been outside? Connecting with nature in whatever form that takes will shift your energy from woe to go. Even if it is just taking the time to breathe some fresh air. Better yet go stand barefoot on the grass or sand or (if you are connected to your inner hippie) hug a tree.Take a walk.
(3) Have you given thanks today? Chances are pretty high that your worst day is still somebody else's idea of a great day so pause and give thanks for things that you would normally take for granted. All your body parts work? High five! Got a home to go to? Total winner. Have people in your life that care about you and check in? Awesomeness. Writing down all that you are grateful for as a daily practice is a great way to ensure a good mood.
(4) Have you done something nice for yourself today? Think back to when you were a kid -- what did you love to do? Coloring in? Reading a book? Dancing? Singing? Go do something that your Inner Child would love you for. It doesn't have to be big but it does have to be just for fun.
(5) When was the last time you took a mental health day? I used to do this for my kids -- every now and then, for no good reason they could have a mental health day off from school. These days were for lounging in your PJs eating toast, binge watching cartoons (on video) and just hanging out with Mum. Now my mental health days are days when I switch off the phone, the cell phone and the Internet and lose myself in a book. Never underestimate the power of a good long book or time doing nothing much at all -- just don't make it a daily habit (or even weekly).
(6) When was the last time you pampered yourself? Moisturize your body all over, give yourself a facial or go get one, book a massage, soak in the bath with those bath salts you have been saving. You deserve it.
Having a list of self care rituals to turn to when you are having a bad day can make all the difference. A daily glass of wine to unwind or a packet of biscuits might feel good in the short term but overall won't do that much for you. Hopefully these ideas give you some more inspiration.