Do you ever find it difficult to get out of an emotional slump? I know I do. It's important to be open about these issues and what might be causing them and then slowly find your way out. It's not easy, and you may find yourself there again but you can do it. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I do whenever I have depressing thoughts.
It sounds so cliché if you're new to this idea but moving your body really helps to get you out of that headspace. The gym may not be everyone's cup of tea, so try going for a run around the block or down to your nearest park. When you get there, try doing some stretching and deep breathing. If you want to make movement a part of your routine, try yoga for free on YouTube or try this new app called aaptiv I tried it after a few recommendations and I have to say, it's really good and they come with various different personal trainers and music for every taste. Since training at drama school, I have been introduced to practicing ballet know as barre exercise. I'd always appreciated ballet, but I didn't realise that it really is for everyone. Check out your local neighbourhood on where there might be classes. If you live close to Shoreditch try MOVEYOURFRAME. Moving really helps you to get out of your head and into your body, even if it's just for a few hours. You'll release endorphins and your cortisol levels will go down. You'll have greater focus and that might also be a good time for the next suggestion.
WRITE A LIST
You make a grocery shopping list so why not a list of goals? The beauty about this list is that you can write down anything you please in private no matter how corny or inconsequential. If you are functioning and doing pretty well, you can start writing a list of what you want in the future and how you plan on getting it by writing a big goal then a list underneath it of all the smaller things you need to do to accomplish it. If you are struggling and you find yourself with depression, you can start by writing the smallest things down. To the average person, this comes naturally, but if you suffer from depression or anxiety this might become harder to do. Try writing down things like: 1. Wake up at such and such time and make your bed. 2. Meditate before you start the day 2. Brush teeth 3. Have a shower 4. Make breakfast etc. If you can, aim to do these things all before 8am in the morning during the summertime and 9am in winter. (If you work from home/mum/unemployed whatever) The satisfaction you feel when crossing these things off will make you motivated to do one extra thing. It will make you feel efficient and trick your mind into feeling accomplished and more able to tackle bigger things. To make things more fun, try treating yourself to a moleskin or a diary from AN ORGANISED LIFE they do great notebooks and sketchbooks as well as diaries and organisers. New stationary always gets me excited.
UNPLUG FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
It's a little ironic suggesting this from a social media platform BUT hear me out. Social media can get you down because you spend a good amount of time either looking at beautifully curated images of other people's lives or curating your own life online trying to make it look enviable. Either way I think both can be exasperating and in this millennial era, you must take some time out for you. It might be easier in the morning, for some while they're at work, or in the evening. Deliberately make sure you put your phone out of reach, either in the next room or across the bedroom if it has an alarm so that you won't be tempted to surf instagram at night. If you plan to unplug in the morning, make sure you give yourself plenty to do and set yourself a time you can go back online, for instance midday. That way, you have had the morning to spend time on yourself, look at your goals and meditate, drink water and maybe go for a run! Or how about over the weekend? A Saturday is a great opportunity. You can post your morning picture scroll for half an hour and then put your phone away and concentrate on enjoying your Saturday. DON'T just do some of these things as a one off, do them regularly, and make it a routine. Go down to your nearest farmers market or markets in general, if you're in North or East London, talk a walk along the canal. Then make your way to a gallery or museum, there are plenty in London, but going further afield might tempt you to bring your phone. If you're seriously addicted like me, delete Instagram by holding down the app until it starts to shake and you see the little X in the corner, press it and it's gone. You won't have deleted your account permanently as you will need to log in from a computer and manually deactivate it yourself. When you are ready, you can download it again. Don't try it with any other social media apps I cannot guarantee they won't do the same.
LISTEN TO YOUR FAV SONG
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night says "If music be the food of love play on" Play your music and allow yourself to be lost in the good vibes. Try not to listen to your fav rap or rock song though what you want needs to be soothing and uplifting in a self loving way. You can even YouTube- YouTube is my friend- uplifting music and different music or sounds will come up. I'm talking folk songs, Indian flute music and music for meditation generally or soft lyrics tend to help. If you want to dance, then I'm a huge fan of that too! Get up and get moving, as it's another way to get you out of your body and in that case, disregard the rap or rock music and pump that Jay-Z loud and clear as long as it makes you feel good.
REDUCE OR STOP EATING OUT AND EATING PROCESSED FOOD
I think this one is for you and me. I eat ALOT when I am sad and I don't hold back. I love carbs and chocolates and pastries. However, whether the medical world are willing to admit this or not, I truly believe food has an impact on your mental health. Especially if you're susceptible to mental health issues. Processed food is harmful because the body may not always be able to identify the chemical found in these foods or it reacts negatively within our bodies. Junk food and processed food chemicals tend to hide very well in fat cells and stay there undetected by the body. As much as I eat garbage I am all too aware of how sugar impacts my livelihood. Begin your day with "the bitter taste" apparently we don't get enough of bitter taste in our mouths. Bitters such as lemon and apple cider vinegar activate the gall bladder to breaking down foods and increasing our metabolism. In addition to that, so does sauerkraut and kimchi. Kimchi is my fav Korean side dish and it is made of fermented cabbage. You can buy kimchi from some Asian food grocery stores or ask your fav restaurant to put extras in a bag for you to take home.
I also love eating pastries and cakes but I just have to cut down and the bitter taste or natural sugars in the morning is helping me develop less of an appetite for that. The other most important thing I realised is portion size. Reduce the size of that slice of cake, that piece of chocolate or that macaroon! I am not a health expert but as someone who used to be exceedingly overweight in her late teens and early 20s with a history of rocky relationship around food, I have had first hand experience of this.
PICK UP A NEW SKILL
Ever wanted to learn how to write code? No, neither do I. What I do want to try though are things like pottery and ceramic classes, or learn Italian. Try looking around your neighbourhood for skill exchange programmes like photography classes in exchange for yoga, that way, you're helping someone else and they're helping you and what's beautiful about it is that it's FREE. If you have cash to spare try something like pasta making classes or volunteer for a couple of hours at a local charity. You will step out of your head and out of your comfort zone, which is ALWAYS a good thing. What about a musical instrument or acting classes? It's never too late.
TAKE VITAMINS + OILS
I have started taking EVENING PRIMROSE OIL for PMS and liquid iron to combat fatigue. Other great vitamins to take are vitamins A, C & D found in foods as well as in supplements. Solgar is my go to brand.
This one depending on your lifestyle might be different for different people. Sometimes when you've hit a real low, it can be tough to keep up with self-care. For some it may be hard to do at all because it's tied up with self worth. Go and get a manicure and pedicure or thread your eyebrows, get a wax, a facial, or a massage. These are wonderful ways to help you feel good and get you on the road to feeling your best self. Those ways are fantastic if you have income or you live in a great neighbourhood that provides those things, but what if you don't? You can give yourself a manicure or a pedicure, shape your own eyebrows or shave your legs and then exfoliate them. My fav thing to do is give myself a mini facial. You can look up a beauty blogger online and follow their routine, or if you're like me, type in K Beauty and you will find many examples of the way to care for your face at home. I have just bought the AHA 30% + BHA 2% from THE ORDINARY over on CULT BEAUTY and I don't shop for skincare anywhere else. I spend quite a bit on that website but the products there are first class and you will begin to see a difference within two weeks. Just do your research and learn what your skin need is before you go ahead and purchase. I also like to treat myself to a new piece of clothing- even if it's vintage or second hand, however, I tried not to make that a huge feature of this piece because I think it's important to feed your soul first.
READ A BOOK
It can be any book you like or a magazine, but try to stay away from fashion and beauty magazines if you are that way inclined to feel more down about yourself afterwards. I am currently training at the moment so finding time to read is a little tricky. I am however reading a bunch of plays and plan on taking some with me to Russia. Some of the best books I have ever read have helped me see the world or my circumstances differently, or even just jump into someone else's world for a little while. I'd like to recommend THE POWER OF NOW by ECKHART TOLLE to kick things off. I have written a blog post previously of the last 5 books I've read you can check it out here.
I hope you have found this blog post useful/helpful. If you have other suggestions to share for others please feel free to leave them in the comments section. That way we can share generously the ways in which we can manage these issues and feel much better about ourselves.
Actress and Photographer/Blogger