Lets Talk About Feeling Sad...
It’s Mental Health Awareness month and we want to slow down and just have a chat about it. We all know it’s so important to look after your physical health, but we also know that we neglect our mental health. Small steps can make a big difference to your outlook on the world, and even if you feel you are in a very dark place, small acts of self-care can bring a little light to you.
Something I like to do is do something creative, this seems daunting when you’re feeling so down, but it can relate to so many activities. I usually choose cooking or baking. Last month I was feeling very burnt out, I decided to make a cake, not for any special occasion, just for myself. Being vegan it can be hard to create a great vegan cake at home, and it took me 3 tries to get it cake shaped - but it was fun! I took my time decorating it and it really made me feel better. Granted, it didn’t take away the core of what was getting me down, but it did give my mind a couple of hours to just focus on something entirely creative… and I got a cake at the end of it.
In a way, you have to get creative with the usual methods of dealing with low mood and anxiety. Mindfulness seems scary when you think, “how am I going to clear my mind when my mind is going a mile a minute?” and the truth is, it takes practice. Counting works for me, I try and count upwards for as long as I can without my mind wandering, and when my mind starts thinking about something else, I start again from 1. I do this a lot on the tube when the heat, noise and bright lights can trigger anxiety.
Routines can also help, I have devised a skincare routine that I do when I’m having a down day, if I do it right it can sometimes take me 2 hours, using all the cleansers, peels, hydrating masks etc. But it takes my mind of negativity for a while, and that’s so beneficial to help your mind heal.
Plants and pets help too. It’s important to focus your energy in other living things, talking to pets or plants can be a great way to just get things off your chest. I like to have a debrief with my cat if I’ve come home from a stressful day, she’s a good listener. Giving yourself time to look after a living thing is incredibly therapeutic, it gives you a sense of responsibility, even in regards to plants. Have a look and see if there’s a local plant swap near you. These are events where you take plants or cuttings of your plants and swap them with like-minded green-fingered people!
Visit Mind.org if you are in a crisis or are in need of someone to talk to.