Updated: Aug 13
When you have mental health issues, your energy and motivation will vary from day to day. Sometimes, you will feel full of energy and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way. Other days, just getting up and out of bed may feel like a struggle.
No matter how much energy and motivation you have, remember that doing your best will look different every day. Some days, you will only be able to get up and get to the couch to watch TV. Other days, you may be able to get work done and the house clean.
Whatever you are able to check off your to-do list is a win, even if it is just brushing your teeth or making the bed. Remember, you are still a worthy and worthwhile person no matter how much you are able to do. Your worth is inherent in you as a person and not dependent on how much you achieve.
When you are having a down day, be gentle and loving with yourself, and take some extra time out for self-care. This way, you can help to get your body and mind feeling better, so that tomorrow you may have a better day. Taking care of yourself first isn't selfish, it is necessary. This is especially true when you have mental health issues.
Do the things you absolutely have to do, and don't be afraid to ask for help, or let other things slide. If the dishes pile up for a day or two, it isn't going to be the end of the world. Making sure that you are mentally and physically well needs to come first.
Be sure to celebrate little wins. Every time you accomplish something on your to-do list, no matter how small, be sure to cheer yourself on. My therapist told me to put my hands up in the air and say "YAY!" Loudly to myself when I accomplish something. This sends endorphins to your brain and transmits a positive message to your mind that you have done something worthwhile.
If you need help to accomplish basic tasks, it is OK to ask your partner, friends or family for help taking care of things for a day or two. Let them know that you are struggling with your mental health, and ask them to do the things that need to get done. Hopefully they can be receptive to you.
Lately, I have been struggling through a depressive episode, and I have been doing the bare minimum of getting my daughter to and from daycare. I have asked my partner to do other things like the dishes and taking out the trash because I just wasn't motivated enough.
I have also been watching a lot of TV and taking naps, so that I can be gentle with myself and get my energy back.
When you are coming out of a time that you have been having a lot of symptoms, build your routine back up slowly. Gradually add one task at a time back onto your daily list. For me, that is writing one blog post per day. It may mean showering every day, doing the dishes, or some other small task that you can easily accomplish.
As you start to feel better again, you can add one task at a time back to your schedule until you are back at your peak of functioning again. Just take things slow. The more you go easy with yourself, the sooner you will get to feeling back to your old self again.
Also, if your symptoms are lasting longer than two weeks, be sure to seek out help from a mental health professional. They can help you with talk therapy, medication and coping skills. This way, you know that you aren't alone in what you are going through.
When you struggle with mental health, it can feel like a daily battle to do anything. So, remember, even if you do one small thing each day, you have something to be proud of. Just getting out of bed may be all you can do some days, and that is perfectly ok. Remember not to be hard on yourself, as that can make the problems worse. Being gentle with yourself and taking things slow is the biggest gift you can give yourself when you are struggling.