7 tips on feeling better when life has you feeling down
It's ok not to feel ok
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A close friend recently came to me and told me that she sometimes felt guilty for feeling down or anxious, and despite my reassurance that she was perfectly entitled not to feel okay, it changed virtually nothing. Now, perspective is often a very important thing in terms of your own feelings and situation, but it should never be something to stop people from validating their own feelings.
No matter what has happened in your life, it’s okay not to be okay. It’s not okay to shame yourself for your feelings, or to feel like someone else is suffering more and therefore you’re not allowed to suffer. As silly as it sounds, you’re allowed to feel like shit, even if you have had a relatively ‘comfortable’ life. So here are a few ways to try to make things a little better, no matter what your situation is.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Listen, I’m no expert but I’m 100% sure that there’s nothing worse than looking at someone else’s life and comparing it to your own. There will always be someone who is worse off than you. There will also always be someone who is better off. That’s just life. Personally, I’ve been dealt a relatively shitty hand in the past few years, but I’m still incredibly lucky in other ways. Whether you’ve dealt with a traumatic event, school is hard to deal with, or you’re just stuck in a rut, your problems matter. Comparing them to someone else will do nothing but harm. Your problems are just as important as everyone else’s.
2. Cry if You Need To
Everyone expresses their feelings in different ways. If you cry when you’re upset, let yourself cry. If you don’t, that’s totally chill too. Everyone makes the mistake of trying to force yourself to feel better when you don’t. There’s no point pretending to be okay all of the time if you aren’t, it’ll probably make you feel worse. People place a lot of emphasis on faking it until you make it, but in my opinion, feeling your feelings is just as important!
3. Talk to Someone
This is pointed out in every self help book, article and video there ever is, but it’s for good reason: getting it all out feels amazing. Sit down with your mam for a cup of tea, talk to a teacher after class, even just complain to your cat for a while. Bottling it all up will do fuck all for you, and you’ll have to get it out eventually anyway. There are anonymous services online and over the phone that are there for this specific reason, and you don’t have to give any self-identifying details: 7 cups is a great one for online, but you can also call the Samaritans (116 123) or Niteline (1800 793 793) or check out the SpunOut help section for more
4. Do What Makes You Happy
Watch 10 episodes of Friends in a row, eat that chocolate bar, read that article on the Kardashians, take the selfie, dance to One Direction. If it makes you happy or feel better, then just fucking do it. Take advice from Shia LaBeouf, and “don’t let your dreams be dreams”. If you like writing poetry, then do that. If your favourite thing is making super noodles for your friends, then do it. Just remember to keep things in moderation, and on that note....
5. Try to Stay Healthy
This is also mentioned in every self-help thing ever: drink water, eat veggies, go for a walk, it’ll stop you from feeling like shit. I mean, it totally could, but it might not as well. What I tend to do is make it a competition with myself. Yesterday I didn’t drink much water at all, so today I’ll drink more and beat my own record. I’m on the 5th day in a row of remembering to wear my retainer and take my tablets, and my previous streak was 9 days so I’m getting closer to winning against myself. And I feel a little better because not only am I looking after myself, but I’m winning my made up competition. It seems ridiculous, but whatever works for you to keep yourself healthy, as well as happy (or happier).
6. Do What Feels Right
If you don’t want to go clubbing, then don’t. If you want to say no, don’t say yes. Listen to your gut. Go for a nap when you feel tired, go to your lectures even if your friends aren’t, or skip that lecture if you’re having a particularly shitty day. Indulge yourself sometimes, or give yourself tough love if you think you need it. Don’t let others dictate your life because you’ll feel a lot better if you’re in control. Just keep in mind that you can’t always control everything, and that’s okay.
7. Be kind to yourself
I mean this kind of falls under most of the above categories, but it’s important enough to have its own heading. Everyone can be pretty hard on themselves, but you need to take it easier on yourself. I know that it’s hard right now, so you need to give yourself a break. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail your exam, let yourself have a lie in every now and again, have that extra hot chocolate, watch that movie instead of doing whatever else it is you have to do. For the most part, the rest of the world will wait for you while you take time to yourself, so read a book, or knit or paint or do whatever you do. Things suck, and they will definitely suck more if you don’t let yourself take a break from whatever is getting too heavy. Take the weight off your shoulders, even if it’s just for an hour. You deserve