Let’s face it, adulting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are bills, more bills, student loan debt, and wages that won’t budge that barely cover the cost of living. All of these things can take a major toll on your mental health. Of course, your relationships, family, health, are all major factors, too.
Add COVID to the mix plus another recession? It’s a recipe for things like depression and anxiety that can impact your day-to-day life. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, you’re not alone. In fact, one in five people suffer from a mental health condition and depression is the leading cause of disability while 18.1% of the population have an anxiety disorder.
Here are some helpful things you can do when your mental health is on the fritz.
What makes you feel good?
One simple approach that has worked for me is creating a “what makes me feel good” list. You want to create this list when you’re feeling okay. On this list, I have things like petting my cats, watching Schitts Creek (ew, David!), taking a bath, drinking tea, watching trashy TV (Selling Sunset, anyone?), meditating, singing, and more. All of these activities are straightforward and best of all, free.
When you’re on the struggle bus, it’s tough to think clearly, so having this list ready to go can help. Pick one activity that you know will make you feel better. It’s not a cure-all but if it can change your mood from bad to less bad and make life more tolerable, then it did the job.
Move your body and breathe
Another thing to do is to activate the body and get moving. It’s been shown that even a 10-minute walk can boost your mood. The same is true of a 10-minute meditation sesh. I love using the free meditation app Insight Timer.
Don’t underestimate the power of naps
Yes we’re throwing it back to kindergarten and recommending some naptime. Naps can help regulate your emotions and make you less irritable. You can also take your mind off all the BS in your head by focusing your energy on baking, trying out a new recipe, or knitting or painting.
Pick up a pen (or notes app)
Enjoy writing? Try to journal out your feelings. Sometimes just getting the thoughts out can be cathartic. Similarly, though it may sound cheesy, practicing gratitude can help. Write down or say out loud three things you’re grateful for such as your health, a warm cup of coffee, and nice weather. Gratitude can actually change your brain.
If your mental health is suffering because of money, please know that you are worth so much more than your income, your net worth, or your debt. And remember, you can always reach out to a friend or talk to a crisis counselor by texting HOME to 741741. There’s no shame in needing a little help.