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Today is a low day for me.
Usually I can push through the day to day anxiety with a little self care, some medication, and a healthy diet.
But not today.
With recent current events, my anxiety is peaking at an unbearably high level. None of my usual coping skills can hold back the constant torrent of worry. The physical side effects (which come from my Amygdala constantly flooding my body with epinephrine) are excruciating.
How to Deal with a Low Day
As awful as this day is, there are ways to deal with a low day in a positive way. I thought I’d share what I do to make low days a little more bearable <3
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience with depression it’s that you can’t fight it. Just like dealing with a cold, there’s no quick cure – you just have to manage the symptoms. A low day is a low day and trying to push through it will do more harm than good.
But there are some things you can do to make your low day not so bad:
Lower your expectations
No use in pushing yourself.
You wouldn’t try to train for a marathon while you had the flu. And it’s the same with depression. You’re sick, so don’t expect yourself to give 1000%. Just do what you can do and that’s just going to have to be fine.
And that goes double for what other people expect of you!
Take a sick day off work
Yes, really. Mental Health sick days are a must if you’re dealing with a monster like depression. Work will still be there when you get back. If you need more time, check out our guide to FMLA and how it protects your job while you get better.
Remember that you’re sick
During your sick day it’s important to remember that you’re sick. I know that sounds dumb, but I myself tend to forget depression is an illness that can keep me in bed (because I can usually just push through it). So give yourself a break and watch some tv, sleep, play video games, take a bath, and/or cuddle your pet.
Be extra kind to yourself
Wrap up in a blanket. Watch some netflix. Sleep without setting an alarm. Take a bath (or two). Make sure to eat a real meal.
These are all ways to be extra kind to yourself on a low day. They may seem like normal everyday things. However, many of us who struggle with mental illness have a hard time with valuing our own self care. Which can make our depression much worse.
If this sounds like you, just remember to be extra gentle with yourself on low days. You can also check out our Guide to Personal Care which has a TON of great advice on how to self care even when it’s hard.
Reach out for support
Low days are hard but they’re a little less miserable if you’ve got a friend or family member to support you. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a friend to text. For me, I call my mom and talk. For others it could be support of an online community. Whatever works!
If your low day seems extra bad reach out to your therapist or counselor if you have one. Another good idea is to find your local non-emergency Warmline. Warmlines are great because you don’t have to be in crisis to call them. They are there if you’re feeling down and need a friendly voice to chat with.
Check out a complete directory of Warmlines here from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI).
Watch your symptoms
Keep an eye on how you’re feeling. If after a day or two you’re not feeling better (even with supportive care on your part) it may be time to call a professional. If you’re having thoughts of self harm or active thoughts of suicide, please make sure to call a Lifeline or a Hotline and get in touch with your mental health care team.
And that’s it for me today. I know, it’s an uncharacteristically short post but I’m practicing what I preach!
I’ll be sleeping a lot today, taking a bath and playing with my cats. As for work, I’ll get a little work done but it’ll be the easiest things on my list. The tough stuff can wait until I feel better!
How do you all handle your low days? What things make you feel better? Let me know in the comments below <3
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