Over the past year and a half, I have struggled pretty hard with mental illness and an overall constant feeling of sadness. When it first began, I was so unused to the feeling of constant sadness that I did not know what to do which led to the feelings spiraling out of control. Over the past six months I have worked my butt off stepping out of my comfort zone to seek help and find ways to keep the sadness and anxiety at bay. If you are in the same place my first and biggest piece of advice is: fake it ’til you make it! Honestly this idea always seemed ridiculous to me but it is a miracle worker. When I am sad, my mind and body tell me to stay in bed and sleep, thus shutting out the rest of the world. If I really want to start feeling better, though, I HAVE to push myself out of my comfort zone and do things I do not necessarily feel like doing at the moment. I’ve been through a lot of trial and error, but I’ve discovered that these top 5 activities truly help me turn my emotions around and regain control over my life.
- Go Hiking/Walking– Honestly, the main point of this tip is just getting outdoors and getting active. Nature is so beautiful and quiet, which helps center me and make me realize how small my problems are in comparison to the vastness of the world. Also, moving around gets your endorphins pumping which is a natural, automatic mood-booster. I personally love hiking, so if the weather is nice it is my all-time go-to, but even a short walk can turn my mood around.
- Talk to a friend– Just getting your emotions somewhere outside of yourself can be such a relief. All of that sadness and anxiety that is churning in the pit of your stomach needs an outlet, so talking to someone else can be a great relief. Even if you do not get down into the nitty-gritty of all your emotions, being with someone who makes you feel safe and you are comfortable around can save you from your thoughts and give you new perspective.
- Find a hobby that is medicinal– This can be one of the best parts because it can be anything that makes you happy! So experiment with everything new. For me, I try to have three different types of hobbies: one that gets me active, one that gets me creative, and one that feels indulgent so when I feel sad, I can choose which activity I feel like doing at the time. For me those three are playing frisbee, writing in a journal, and baking healthy desserts. Finding these hobbies may take time and they might push you out of your comfort zone, but open yourself up to the experience and you will have a blast experimenting.
- Find new surroundings– This means forcing yourself out of the comfort of your bed or your couch and just finding new scenery. Even if you just relocate to a friends house, your local cafe, or one of your favorite spots outside. Being in a new location forces you to reevaluate your surrounding and your realities. It will provide you with a fresh perspective and new realities. Either way, you’ve accomplished something today by getting out of bed and going somewhere new.
- Do not ignore your emotions– Let yourself feel: you cannot be on either extreme. It’s unhealthy to let yourself become consumed with negative emotions but it is also unhealthy to completely ignore or deny these emotions as well. I have done both, so I know that all of these emotions will catch up to you. For so long I wanted to be strong and independent so I ignored my emotions and pushed myself beyond my limits. Eventually, these emotions caught up to me and knocked me on my butt. So let yourself feel, acknowledge these emotions, but also strive to improve this mood as well.
I really hope that you found some comfort in my own personal tips. Remember that no matter what, you are never alone and there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel even if you aren’t seeing it right now.
Lots of love,