Having a bad mental health day is common. All people, without exception, feel like the world is crumbling down on them at some point in their lives. Sometimes, there’s an external cause behind this feeling while other times it silently creeps up on you without any reason at all. Needless to say, it is extremely difficult to get through bad mental health days without doing damage to yourself.
However, if you’re not careful you might just cripple yourself emotionally and psychologically for the future days to come. That’s why you definitely need some healthy coping techniques to get yourself out of the negative mental state and survive. So, here are low-effort ways to practice self-care on days you can’t even get out of bed.
20 Ways to Survive Bad Mental Health Days Effortlessly
First of all, know that you’re not alone. In fact, according to CDC, more than 50% of US citizens are diagnosed with a mental disorder at some time in their lives. Every 1 in 5 Americans experiences a mental illness in any given year. Moreover, 1 in 25 Americans suffers and live with a serious mental disorder such as Schizophrenia, Major Depression Disorder or bipolar disorder, etc. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these disorders, make sure to consult your health provider regarding your condition and how to cope with it.
This list is for people who suffer mild symptoms and just want to know how to get through the day when things get bad. So, without further ado, here are some things you can do on poor mental health days to make yourself feel better!
1. Keep Sleeping!
Yes, you read that right! The number #1 thing to do when you’re having a bad mental health day and have literally no energy to do anything else is to sleep. People like to demonize sleeping so much however; it is actually beneficial. It improves your concentration and productivity, helps maintain or lose weight, boosts your immune system, strengthens your heart, and prevents cardiovascular disorders, as well as lowers the risk of numerous serious diseases. What’s more, studies show that poor sleep patterns or not getting enough sleep are linked with depression and anxiety!
That’s why, when you don’t feel like getting out of bed on bad days – simply don’t. Get some sleep. Actually, get quality sleep. Don’t feel guilty for sleeping away the day. Don’t beat yourself up over not being productive. Just relax and get the best sleep of your life. We bet you’d feel amazing afterward!
2. Take a Long and Luxurious Hot Bath
You can sleep all day however, if you truly want to become reenergized at the end of the day, take a hot bath. Showering will help you feel clean which in turn improves your mental state. And honestly, a warm bath with candles and moisturizing bath bombs might just be the thing you need to heal yourself.
3. Don’t feel like it? Brushing your Teeth and Combing your Hair will make you Feel Immensely Better!
However, we do acknowledge that simply taking a shower takes insurmountable effort on bad days. But it is also true that feeling clean improves your mood. So, find a middle ground. Only brush your teeth and comb your hair. We all know how important brushing our teeth is. It prevents diseases, cleans your mouth, and most importantly, you can eat all the delicious comfort food you want! Not brushing your teeth will decrease their enjoyment considerably. Similarly, detangling your hair and softly combing them helps you relax on bad days.
4. Crying Can Help You Unload
Keeping things in and suppressing your emotions actually does more damage. If you’re feeling like crying, do not hesitate to do so. Cry your heart out. It will help you unload and feel lighter. Make sure to drink lots of water after crying though! Stay hydrated!
5. Journal Your Thoughts to Declutter your Mind and Get Rid of Anxiety
Another way to unload that doesn’t give you a headache and dehydrate you is to journal. Nothing fancy – simply get a notebook and start writing down whatever comes to your mind. Do not stop to read. Do not consider what to write. Simply start writing. Once you’ve filled hundreds of pages, we promise you will feel considerably better and unstuck.
6. Maybe Consider Cleaning up the House
Your inner state reflects in your surroundings. Likewise, your surroundings affect your emotions. Therefore, cleaning up around the house is a good coping mechanism for depression, anxiety, and general bad days. It gives you something to do. It distracts you from your thoughts while also making you productive. There’s no human being on Earth who regretted cleaning up their house. It always makes you feel better.
7. Put on Cozy Pajamas and Watch your Favorite TV Show or Film
Anxiety, bad days are all about comfort. Don’t think about anything else except surviving. Do things that bring you comfort. If that is cozying up in pajamas all day, staying in bed, eating tons of carbs, and watching your comfort movie or TV show – then so be it! Though we do recommend watching comedies coz laughter is healing. Studies show that laughter has numerous psychological and physiological benefits. It helps reduce stress, depression, and anxiety; lowers blood pressure, and boosts the immune system.
8. Eat your Comfort Food without Feeling Guilty
Eating huge amounts of carbs doesn’t do as much damage as people feeling guilty over it. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy. Understandably, when you’re having a bad mental health day, your body requires more energy. So, don’t feel bad about eating carbs when you’re in a bad mental state.
Don’t worry about your weight. Eat whatever you want guilt-free if that makes you feel better and happy. You deserve it. Although, if eating crabs make your condition worse, then opt for good carbs such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grains, and whole oats. This way, you can get the benefits of crabs but without the guilt!
9. Sit in the Sun with a Cup of Tea
Sunlight is extremely important for human beings. You might want to do nothing but stay indoors on bad mental health days. However, going outside and simply sitting in the sun for a few moments is the best and most effortless way to feel better. It is physically impossible to not feel good when warm sunlight is hitting your face. You can even take a nap in the sun! Or make yourself a soothing cinnamon and bay leaf tea with a dash of black ginger, to sip slowly in the sun. Trust me, it works wonders for improving mood and reducing stress & anxiety.
10. Go for a Walk in Nature
There’s no shortage of research about the benefits of nature on health, both mental and physical. Ideally, you should take a walk in nature on all mental health good days and bad days. But the benefits become exponential on bad days. Simply, go to a neighborhood park and walk. It’s even better if you walk on grass with bare feet. Without a doubt, it will instantly invigorate you and improve your mental state.
11. Cycle along Scenic Roads
Another thing that doesn’t require much effort is going cycling. Do you have a favorite spot in the neighborhood? A scenic road along the river that you enjoy? Hop on your bicycle and let it take you there! It will give you much-needed physical exercise and make you feel better on a terrible day.
12. Do Guided Breathwork or Meditation
According to research, meditation and practicing mindfulness have tremendous benefits for mental health. They are known to significantly decrease depression and anxiety in chronic pain patients. You don’t have to meditate all day like a monk to see these results. Simply following a 10-minute guided meditation or breathing session will help you relax and give you the energy to do things.
13. Cook Yourself an Elaborate Meal
If you don’t want to dwell on your condition and what’s causing it, then find a way to distract yourself. And cooking something delicious with weird vegetables might just do the trick! Cooking an elaborate meal for yourself will distract you from harmful thoughts. You can compose different courses to keep yourself busy for hours. In addition, you can also source the ingredients and travel to the farmer’s market for a breath of fresh air. You will ensure you eat sustainable food.
Wholesome meals will make you feel healthier, so your mind focuses on positivity. Furthermore, balanced food stabilizes your weight and mood. The food will stimulate the brain so you are present in the now. Bad mental days usually occur when you think of the future and its uncertainty.
Cooking will keep you occupied for hours. You maintain concentration if the tasks are repetitive and fundamental. The brain will forget about negativity when you are reading the scale, whisking eggs, or beating the dough. Cooking an elaborate meal develops the frontal looks and its associated functions. You can memorize the spices/herbs for their functions.
14. Cuddle with your Partner or Pets
There’s nothing harder than going through a bad mental health day alone. Therefore, if you have a partner, spend some quality time cuddling with them. It releases serotonin and dopamine – both are happy hormones that make you feel good. Don’t have a partner? No worries! Cuddling your pet has the same effect.
15. Treat Yourself to a Long & Relaxing Massage
Often, one of the culprits behind bad days is stress and fatigue that has accumulated in our bodies over the years as a result of constantly working and never taking care of ourselves enough. That’s why treating yourself to a long luxurious full-body massage, especially on a bad mental health day will feel like heaven.
16. Listen to Music or Better Yet, Play it!
Music is also associated with good feelings. Listening to our favorite songs from happier days instantly brings back those happy memories. Plus, it literally takes no effort to just sit there and listen to music. For maximum benefits, it is better if you pick up a guitar or ukulele yourself!
17. Do Something Creative
Creative activities are a great way to channel your inner turmoil and feelings. If you’re having a bad day again, try to paint your feelings. It doesn’t have to be good. It’s fine even if the end result is just paints splashed together on the canvas. What’s important is that you express your feelings.
18. Knit or Crochet a Scarf!
In my opinion, the best thing to do on poor mental health days is to knit, or crochet. It is such a mediative activity. Sure, it looks difficult but once you’ve got the hang of it, you can literally sit there and knit for hours. Your hands move on their own. You don’t even have to think. You enter, what psychology calls, a “flow” state. It gets rid of all thoughts, negative or otherwise, and makes you feel euphoric. Plus, at the end of it, you have a scarf to wrap around yourself for comfort!
19. Listen to an Insightful Podcast
Want to have meaningful conversations without actually talking to people? Listen to a Podcast! There are so many wonderful podcasts out there on so many topics that it is impossible to not feel inspired by them. On bad days when you feel alone and depressed, listening to insightful podcasts about life and the nature of the universe might help you.
20. Whatever you do – Stay Away from your Phone & social media!
And lastly, stop scrolling! Whatever you do on bad mental health days, do not mindlessly scroll on social media or spend the entire day glued to your screen. It will make you feel worse. 100%. Doomscolling is a legitimate term to describe a condition when people mindlessly keep scrolling on social media and cannot quit. Studies show that it has severe adverse effects on mental health such as increased anxiety, stress, depression, irritability, sadness, grief, hopelessness, OCD, and even PTSD, etc.
Going through bad mental health days can become even more difficult when you’re alone and unmotivated to do anything. However, you have to physically move to get unstuck and out of the negative mind loop. For this purpose, try doing the small, simple tasks mentioned in our list. They don’t take much effort and 100% will make you feel better, and give you the energy to survive and get through another day. And hopefully, tomorrow will be much kinder to you.