Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nature and Nurture - 'What to do when you're feeling down'

I must not be the only one who when feeling down and not sure what to do with myself googles it, right? I hope not anyway, haha.

I'm afraid it will probably be another list type blog again, but who in their right mind doesn't like a good list? ;) Inspired by my own lack of ideas how to cheer myself up when I'm feeling down, here are some ideas (from me in a slightly better mood) here:

1) Volunteer

Make the world brighter! Obviously not a instant quick fix - if you're not scheduled to do any work experience that day it might be a bit difficult to find some. However, recently, I am genuinely having some of my happiest times when I'm volunteering and making a difference to people's lives in that way. I do volunteer work at two places at the moment. One of my last visits one of the people I was working with actually cried with happiness on my visit. I don't think anything can really replace that feeling. To know that you are helping and putting your time to good use is one of the most heart-warming and rewarding experiences. A natural mood boost for both you and the people who are affected by the time you put in.

If you don't have time to volunteer regularly, how about getting involved in an online campaign or just write a random positive and happy thank you note to a shop or company you love to visit?

When I'm feeling saddest, I find putting some of my focus into trying to make the world happier for other people almost instantly makes it happier for me as well. The more positivity you try and put actively into the world - the more positivity you see from others.
It sounds contrived/hokey, but it's true.

2) Exercise

Yes, I know. I almost hate myself for suggesting this one. But let's not all pretend we haven't all shaken our thang to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off in a personal to-our-mirror concert.
And nope, as we know from previous blogs, I am not naturally athlectic! Haha. Really, just try and get your body moving a bit, I'm not judging how! :P

My current exercise love is yoga. I *adore* Adriene Mishler's Yoga With Adriene youtube videos. They are free and she has a lovely huge range for whatever mood you're in or whatever issues your body is dealing with in that moment. I think it would be impossible for me to pick a favourite, but trust me, her 30 Day Yoga Camp is definitely worth a go! The channel's mantra is 'Find What Feels Good' and this just encapsulates what her videos are like. If you want to take a look, check it out on this link:

https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

If you've tried yoga and it's not your thing, that's totally cool! When I'm not up to exercise, I sometimes just try and force myself to walk around the garden with my dog, and I find that helps if only a little!

Running-wise, I've been doing the NHS' 'Couch 2 5k' which is, quite self-explanatorily, an app which helps you work up from not running at all to running 30 minutes every other day. I'm currently on 28 mins and even though it's been hard at times I'm so happy I'm doing it! Take a look if you're in the UK or have access to it :).

3) Cook

Well, I'm a food lover. This was bound to be on here ;).
However, it genuinely is a really helpful technique to boot! It's really helpful for a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) technique called 'Grounding' - this is essentially just trying to focus on your physical senses in the present moment to bring your focus more into your body and less out of whatever swarm of emotions or thoughts you're dealing with.

You get a gentle and therapeutic relaxation time and a yummy meal at the end! Personally, I can't say no to that :P.

4) Sit with it/Meditation

Meditation isn't something that appeals to everyone, but I thought it would be a bit false and just not me to exclude this from the list.

Meditation and mindfulness practices are hugely growing in popularity at the moment - and for good reason! There are more and more scientific studies coming out all the time proving the benefits of meditation. If you want to give yourself more clarity and calm, but the idea of meditation seems hippy-dippy and like a cultural 'style' icon rather than a meaningful practice then Ruby Wax may well be your way into exploring your meditation-curiousity further! She's got an MSc in Psychotherapy and with her stand-up, she brings a whole comic element to boot!

By the way, I'm stressing the scientific side to open the eyes of more people to a wonderful practice, but honestly I think the spiritual side appeals to me a lot too personally! Haha

5) Watch something cheesy/funny

Okay, come on now, no more explanation required. This is what Parks and Recreation, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Blackadder, QI and Cuckoo were made for!
"TREAT YO' SELF"

6) Watch something dark and violent

Urm, alternatively you may be like me and want to indulge your darker moments for a short while to get them out of your system. Plus anything dramatic of with intrigue keeps my brain occupied so I can just tune out of everyday life... and doesn't life feel so much better when you realise you never have to deal with King Joffrey from Game of Thrones?? A few of my personal top picks for this are Ultimate Force, Spooks and The Walking Dead.

7) Engross yourself in learning or creating something

You might have already sensed this, but I am someone who always wants to learn. I think learning a new skill can open up whole new parts of the world to you - whether it be a language, hobby, science, whatever!
When you take up a new craft or project, you're instantly opening your world up to new information, new friends, fun achievements. That, for me, is perfect for when you're stuck in a rut.
It's easier now than ever with the internet! Whether you want to check out Khan Academy, Duolingo, or maybe just Wikipedia and Youtube, there's always information and interesting people out there!

8) Get it out on paper

I think journalling can be a really useful activity for some people. It's a really emotionally healthy and mature way of processing through things so they don't need to affect your daily life. Plus, it's a fun collection for any new ideas, to-do lists or doodles! I don't think I'm going to add much valuable to this conversation at the moment, but I've just started a new journal and look forward to blogging about it soon!

9) Get yo'self a cuppa and read/chat it out 

I'm a big fan of a cup of tea time and a good old chinwag (I am British, after all!) Or snuggling down with blankets and tea and escaping to another world through a book.

10) 'Wash that man(/woman/person/job/etc) right out of your hair'

Shower/bath time! I like to keep myself a supply of Lush bath products on hand, so I can always give myself some time to wind down with a hot chocolate if I've been feeling particularly uptight. More to follow on my Lush purchases soon!
Alternatively, if I don't feel like indulging or don't have time, I just try to get my body and room feeling as clean and fresh as possible 

11) Get outside!

Sunshine and sunshine can really help blow the cobwebs out, especially at the time of year! I particularly like gardening - it really connects me to the outdoors and reminds me of inevitable movement and change when I feel stuck in a certain emotion.
Or bring the outside indoors! Indoor plants are an essential in my room. I don't know why, but a bit of greenery and gardening always perks me up.



12 Sleep

Last, but certainly not least, sleep! 
I don't need to explain the benefits of sleep, but not all of us find it as easy as others! When I was having trouble sleeping in the past few months I invested in essential oils and a diffuser, which has really helped. Go my lavender and camomile combo!
I nearly always listen to something when I'm falling asleep, but for others you need total silence. My best advice, is just have fun and don't take it too seriously trying to work out what works for you. Your body will be sure to get you the rest you need somehow - don't beat yourself up!


__________

Treat yourself like a small child, a loved one or a baby animal. Treat yourself kindly and patiently. You are worthy of love!

If your low mood is lasting a long time and starting to impact on your daily life you might want to consider talking to a doctor about it. Mental ill health problems like anxiety and depression are incredibly common and there's a huge range of support you could access to suit you. Or, if you're at a bit of a crisis point and need to speak to someone urgently, call Samaritans or a local helpline. The free phone number for Samaritans in the UK is: 116 123 and don't worry, the call does not show up on any phone bills!
http://www.samaritans.org/
There's no shame in it. I've used the service before and it can really help. We're all in this together, kids!

Sorry if you've found this post a bit of an epicly long journey! I just want to make sure you all take good care of yourselves! Much love from me. Have a fantastic day :). N xx

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Of course, this should have been number one, haha.

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  2. What a great post! (I love a good list!)

    Writing is really therapitic to me! I love to write poetry and blog of course! Also having something to look forward to is good and also just getting out and about :)

    Lovely stuff Nicky :)

    Eb x
    Www.Eboniivory.Blogspot.Co.Uk

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    Replies
    1. Haha, me too! Who doesn't like a list?

      That's a really good point. I'm all for expressing yourself creatively as a therapeutic tool. I'm doing volunteer work as a art therapy assistant at the moment and I think it's undervalued how much expressing yourself artistically can make a positive difference to people's lives.

      Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Nicky xx

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