Living with a form of bipolar disorder, I sometimes have mood swings that drag me way down low. For lack of a better word, I feel like absolute shit. I begin to self-deprecate. I binge eat. I stop taking care of myself. The cruel, harsh internal voice will surface and I won't stop it, thinking that I deserve all the terrible things I tell myself.
In these moments, we need kindness the most.
And here are 10 ways to be nicer to yourself when you feel like shit.
1. Wear comfortable clothing.
I get terrible body image issues when I feel like shit. Everything feels too tight and I don't feel pretty in anything I'm wearing. For days like this, I have oversized shirts, sweatpants, and loose shorts so I feel comfortable throughout the day.
You don't have to get anything fancy. Your favorite worn out pants and a t-shirt work just fine.
2. Eat a fruit or something healthy.
My first impulse is to order take out and spend lots of money on delivery. Then I get a stomachache from overeating and feel like crap, afterwards.
If you can, have something light, so it doesn't bother your stomach. Opt for some fruits, salads, or something protein heavy.
One of my favorite things to do is to buy a pre-made salad kit and leave it in my fridge for the days that I don't feel great. It's ready to go and I don't have to worry about feeling worse, after I indulge.
3. Head over to r/aww or to another wholesome space.
Distraction! That's what you need when you're not feeling your best.
I like to binge watch tv shows, but sometimes the plot gets too serious for me and I fall into an anxious cycle of "what if this happened to me!" My anxiety gets triggered, nausea comes over me, and it does more harm than good.
But I do keep some wholesome websites in my back pocket. R/Aww is one of my favorite places to go to when I need a spark of light in my life.
4. Talk to yourself, in a fair way.
Intrusive thoughts might be telling you horrible things about the people you love.
"No one actually likes you."
"You're a BURDEN!"
"Everyone would be better off without you."
Don't invalidate these intrusive thoughts immediately, but rationalize them.
"No one actually likes you" - theres so many people in this world, at least one is bound to like you.
"You're a BURDEN!" - and if anyone actually thinks that, they can tell you themselves and leave your life
"Everyone would be better off without you." - Everyone? That's a lot of people, but you haven't confirmed it with all of them yet.
Remind yourself that these thoughts are out there and while they feel real, they are not the truth. It's your mind playing tricks on you.
5. Shut yourself off from social media or socialization for a short while.
Do you get comparison syndrome, or just me? You too? Cool.
So I need to shut up social media sometimes so I'm not comparing the highlights of someone else's life, to my own life. People seem like they have it all, and they don't spend their evenings sitting in the dark, eating a whole pizza by themselves... which is not true. Other people have their own demons. You just rarely see it on social media.
I turned myself off from social media for a while, in order to help myself. I stop comparing my life to the lives of others who seem to have it all.
6. Shout at the world.
Internalizing how you feel will just make everything fester and bubble up until you can't take it anymore and it comes out at the worst times. You know what I'm talking about!
Instead, shout your feelings out at the world. Literally, shout them.
Or write them down, like I do.
Put them on paper and then set a fire to it (outside... and don't catch anything else on fire!).
Vent it out.
Get it out of your system.
7. Schedule an appointment to get help.
There's no shame in going to a therapist or heading to a group support space in order to get help. If you have been seeing a therapist consistently, write down all the ways you feel like shit today, so you can talk about it at your next session.
If you're not currently seeing a therapist and you have the means to, this would be a good time to see who has availability to talk to you.
8. If you're on medication, take them.
This is a time where you might feel like your medication isn't working, so why bother taking them. While medication can help these feelings, they won't cure them or make them go away forever.
If you're taking medication, currently, be sure to keep taking them.
If not, and you're open to the idea of medication, definitely get with a doctor to discuss what your options are.
9. Go to your happy place and rest.
Some people love going for long walks in the woods. Maybe sitting at the beach. Perhaps sitting in front of your laptop and playing a serene video game (I suggest Stardew Valley if you want something repetitive and easy on the brain).
Your happy place doesn't have to look like anyone else's. It's just a place where you can go to rest your mind, on your terms.
10. FOrgive yourself for having a crappy day.
Shitty days happen. Feeling like crap, happens. It'll be okay and this day will eventually pass. Let yourself know that it's completely fine to have a bad day and you will try again tomorrow.
And for now, take a break for yourself and let the crappy day pass!
What do you like to do on bad days?
Let me know in the comments below!