Sometimes I have days where the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I drop my toothbrush and all of a sudden I am in tears, telling my boyfriend that even though I don’t believe in God I am pretty sure he hates me and wants me to see me suffer. Then I get even angrier as I realise I have referred to God as a ‘he’. “WHY ARE MALES THE DEFAULT?” I sob. My boyfriend looks confused and as if he may shortly reveal some Very Important Plans that mean he has to leave the house for several hours.
Minutes later I accidentally walk into the kitchen table and whack my leg. I rub my thigh. Poor, sad thigh. I can feel it bruising already. I kick the table in a fit of rage and tell it to fuck off. WHY IS EVERYTHING AGAINST ME? Even kitchen furniture inexplicably hates me.
When this kind of mood grabs me by the shirt collar and refuses to let go, I have a few tricks I try. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but maybe you could give ’em a go…
1) Take a shower AND WASH YOUR HAIR
It sounds bizarre and slightly pathetic but for me, feeling physically unclean can lead to some really dark moods. And washing almost always helps – when you feel rubbish, it’s really tempting to laze around and forget that shower gel was ever a thing, but DON’T DO IT. Get your Soap & Glory body scrub out, grab your shampoo and JUMP IN THAT SHOWER.
Isn’t that better? Even just a little bit? It is for me. When I exit the bathroom smelling like a strawberry half an hour after my latest fight with the kitchen table, I always feel happier. I sit in my living room, wonder what I was ever upset about and admire my shiny hair.
2) Watch a movie or TV show that makes you laugh or feel uplifted
“I never watch the same movie more than once,” say some people. I PITY THEM. I binge on the OC every time I feel sad for more than a couple of days. I have watched every episode of Community at least four times, and you know why? Because it makes me happy, just like ordering the same food every time I visit Nando’s makes me happy. Trying new stuff is great but so’s returning to things that are tried and tested and guaranteed to turn your lil frown upside down.
3) Call/see someone you luv
One of my worst mood-killers is spending too much time alone. I like my own company a LOT and have never been one of those people who wants to do something or see someone for the sake of it (too much socialising makes me tired) but there’s something about being alone that brings out my paranoid side, and I think that’s true of most people. If you can’t see or speak to anyone fun right now, make some plans to do it soon. Things to look forward to and write on your calendar are always exciting, and they take your focus off today.
4) Don’t try and force yourself to feel happy
It’s hard to cheer up when all you’re telling yourself is BE HAPPY! SMILE! EVERYONE HATES A GROUCH! LOOK HOW ANNOYED YOUR FRIENDS ARE GETTING! Try to accept your mood for what it is and don’t beat yourself up for not feeling tip top. There might be a reason for today or there might not be (you might not even be sure, I rarely am) but it’s okay either way. Not every day has to be a jovial one.
5) Spend a small amount of time with someone you’re not mega-close to
Whenever I used to have a really down day, my ex-boyfriend used to say “Let’s go downstairs and speak to my family.” It was always the last thing I wanted to do, but ten minutes later, when we were sitting watching TV and talking about Chinese takeaways and whether we preferred Katie Price or Peter Andre, I’d somehow forgotten my sadness.
Sometimes I find that being with your nearest and dearest can help, because you don’t have to pretend (THANK GOD) and you can wallow to your heart’s content. But on other occasions, it’s more helpful to be around work colleagues or fellow uni students or the nice old man who gets the 9.38am bus every day and always says hello – people who you need to use a little facade or a certain level of professionalism with. It doesn’t always work, but I do find that having to make an effort with people you’re not 100% comfortable with can help you to pretend the sadness away.
6) Get dressed
It sounds obvious, but when people feel awful the LAST thing they want to do is get up and dressed. Personally I quite like to drown in self pity, cry over my stomach fat and eat chocolate until I forget my own name, and pyjamas feel like the most suitable attire for these kind of activities. However, your pyjamas are most likely a little bit sweaty and associated with ‘lounging around not doing much at all’, so make sure you pick an outfit out, even if it’s just jogging bottoms and a Mickey Mouse tee. Wash your face, tie your hair up, or do whatever else makes you feel clean and slightly more productive.
7) Keep the negative thoughts to a minimum
This is possibly the hardest thing to do on a down day, but it’s really important. One sad thought can lead to a mean thought, which can lead to a bunch of other mean thoughts which have children and grandchildren and run riot around your brain. WHY ARE MY EYEBROWS SO GROSS? WHY IS EVERYONE ELSE HAVING SO MUCH FUN? WHY IS MY WRITING SO BAD? And, worst of all: WHY IS IT JUST ME WHO GETS LIKE THIS?
One thing I have learned throughout my many downhearted days is that it’s NEVER just you who gets like this. The more people I talk to, the more people I end up wanting to hug, because I realise they are in fact just like me. They cry at silly things as well! They also have days where they don’t want to do anything or speak to anyone! And that helps me, a lot. I hope it helps you too.