Sometimes life can get too much and you need to block it all out. You are overthinking and can’t seem to switch it off. The world seems to be closing in on you, and you have nowhere to turn.
On these days, all you can try to do is survive.
I have had a few bad days recently and have hidden away from the world. I’ve been resting and recovering and doing my best to get through this. Here are some of the distractions that have helped me so far.
These are also great for distracting from lockdown and helping time pass if you are on furlough, unemployed or working from home.
To me, music is therapy. You can find a song for any mood and sing it at the top of my your lungs. It really allows me to let my emotions out.
Relaxing music can also be good to take you away from your thoughts and be there in the moment.
2. Favourite films
Watching my favourite films with family and friends has really helped. With the pandemic and lockdown I can’t meet my friends but I have utilised Disney+ and their Group Watch which allows me to watch in sync with friends and we can message each other as we watch from the comfort of our own homes.
Get under your duvet in your favourite pyjamas with your favourite snacks and enjoy!
I recommend a good classic feel good musical like Singin in the Rain, White Christmas or The Sound of Music, as well as basically every Disney film!
3. Write it down
When thoughts are swirling in your mind, especially at night when everyone is asleep, I find writing my worries down helps to declutter my brain.
Writing helps you think things through as things can get jumbled in the mind, but you then need to write it legibly. You can then release all your thoughts onto paper and it can help you let go just enough to sleep or relax a little.
Knowing the thoughts will be there on paper in the morning to deal with may ease your mind. You may then be able to wait until you can talk to someone and really think about what you have written down, go over it and see if these thoughts have purpose and meaning.
If you find yourself catastrophising in your thoughts, write down the most likely scenarios beside the worst cause scenario to show yourself that it may not be as bad as you thought. I have been known to catastrophise and this is the only way I can control it.
4. Reach out to friends and family
That’s what friends and family are for. Think of what you would do for them. If they are real friends, they will do the same for you. Tell them you are having a bad time. You don’t have to go into detail if you don’t want to.
If a friend knows you are not doing well, they can distract you with their own gossip, make you laugh, share your burden, cheer you up. It is amazing the kindness of others when you are at your worst.
There is always someone out there to talk to. If you are feeling alone and can’t reach out to anyone you know, call a helpline, take that step to help yourself. Sometimes just sharing your story can be a relief.
5. Gaming and reading
I put these together as they both have the same effect on me. Gaming and reading can transport me to different worlds and problems far away from my own. It allows you to live as someone else, somewhere else. Basically, pure escapism.
6. Positive news websites
I often feel overwhelmed by the news and it gives me a sense of impending doom. The only way to take my thoughts from the negativity, is to fill my head with positive news instead. There is always positive news out there, you just have to find it.
7. Go for a walk
It may seem like a silly small thing, but getting some fresh air can really clear the mind, even if it is just for 5 minutes.
It splits up your day by giving you something to do in a different atmosphere. It can be your one achievement that day. The one goal that you tick off the list.
Go somewhere beautiful, peaceful. Somewhere away from the loud roads, as if you are far away from your life. Breathe in the fresh air and listen to nature. It can really help centre your mind and body, almost like a system reset for humans.
It is not a magical fix, but it has helped me greatly and gives me a routine and goal every day. I also find people watching very therapeutic. I sometimes find a bench outdoors and watch the day go by.
8. Eat comfort food
This is a major one for me. Some foods are known to improve mood and everyone has their favourites that just make them feel better.
Mine is chocolate! It is actually scientifically proven to improve the mood, so I prescribe eating way to much of it to compensate for bad moods. I mean, what other excuse do you need to eat your favourite food?
9. If you are really struggling, seek help
You may think you are being brave by holding in your emotions, by dealing with things yourself, but sometimes you can’t do it alone and that’s OK. Talk to someone, call a helpline, just please don’t keep it to yourself.