THOSE JANUARY BLUES
Let’s get one thing out of the way: January is hard. It’s hard for those in full time jobs who are just about hanging on until payday. It’s hard for students who are faced with an onslaught of essays and exams having only just finished the last batch. It’s especially hard for those who are already suffering with mental health problems. Personally, I’ve always found the start of the month extremely difficult, but I tend to find things pick up as we head further into the new year. Despite all of this, the January of 2017 has been my best January for a good few years. Not only did I complete my essays in better time than ever (though I was still cutting it very fine!) but I’m making huge improvements in managing my mental health. I’m feeling stressed at the moment, but the one thing I’ve taken away from this rough patch is how much I’ve better I’ve become at coping with difficult periods over the last year or so. I’m not perfect, but I’m improving. For that reason, I wanted to share something for any of you who might be having a tough time of it at the moment. Here are 5 ways to cope when things get too much.
WRITE IT DOWN
When we’re stressed, anxious or low, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Everything from fleeting thoughts to everyday tasks to work duties fuse into an amalgamation of general negativity. It can feel impossible to keep track of our thoughts, or stay on top of the enormity of things we feel we need to do, but there is a simple trick to combat this horrible feeling. For example, struggling to sleep at night? Turn the light back on and write down everything that’s stopping you from drifting off. Transfer your worries onto paper in the knowledge that you won’t forget them by the morning. Review the list the next day and cross out anything that no longer concerns you. You might be surprised!
SET SMART GOALS
If we think about all the things we need to do in one go, we’re going to become overwhelmed very quickly. We’ll probably procrastinate to avoid completing the tasks which are causing the anxiety, or if we do give them a go, we might not complete everything we expect to. This will only ever leave us feeling disappointed in ourselves, so we need to set SMART goals instead. SMART goals are specific, measured, achievable, relevant and timed – smart! We’re far more likely to achieve our goals when they’re SMART, and we can use them for tasks of all sizes. So how do you use them? Luckily for you, I’ve written a post all about how to set SMART goals, so head over there. No excuses!
This is probably the most difficult point, but for me, it’s also the most important. Although most of us don’t like to admit it, we tend to let emotion override our logical thought when we’re feeling stressed, sad or anxious. Anxiety, in particular, can cause us to throw logic to the wind and make decisions based purely on how we’re feeling at the time. It’s the easy option, but it’s not always the best one, so we need to make a conscious effort to listen to the rational side of our brains. When faced with a difficult decision or situation, pause and think. Ask yourself: ‘If I do this, will I feel better or worse?’, and be honest! It’s a really uncomfortable thing to do, but if you get into the habit, it could change your life.
PREPARE FOR THE BAD DAYS
When you’re going through a long term rough patch, some days will always be worse than others, and that’s totally normal. However, you can help yourself by learning to identify the bad days. It seems like a pointless exercise, but recognising a bad day when it’s happening can help prevent the feeling that you’re all the way back at square one. This is a particularly useful one for anybody recovering from depression or coping with a loss, so if you’re suffering through any long term setback, please head over to my post all about how to build a bad day strategy. It’s a cognitive behavioural therapy technique, so I can’t take credit for the idea, but it really does work. So what about any old bad day?
PRACTISE SELF CARE
Of course, making SMART goals and thinking rationally just isn’t going to work sometimes, and on those days, we really need to make some time for self care. This can be anything from taking a long bath to spending time with friends to exercising. When we’re burning the candle at both ends, we end up neglecting our bodies and minds. Before you know it, you’re having a breakdown, and that’s when you need to take a step back. Take some time to do the things you want to do rather than the things you need to do, and don’t you dare berate yourself for it! Refreshing your mind and body will leave you feeling more able to face whatever it is that burnt you out in the first place. It’s a win win situation!
READ MORE ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES WITH MENTAL HEALTH
5 Ways To Help Somebody With Depression · Choosing The Right Path In Life · How To Build A Bad Day Strategy · Being A Fashion Blogger With Anxiety · How To Silence Your Inner Voice · 5 Reasons To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others · Dermatillomania And Me · Can Positivity Be A Negative Thing? · Why I Decided To Stay At University
SHOP THE POST
Sadly, most of the items I’m wearing are now out of stock! However, I’ve linked lots of similar items above.
I really hoped this helped any of you who might be struggling at the moment! Are you a fan of January or not?