Basically, stuff you can do when you can't afford a therapist because life is really, really hard. These are simply tips to help you stress a little less and generally be happier in your day to day life! It goes without saying that if you're actually concerned about your own or someone close to you's mental wellbeing you should definitely seek help from a professional.
1. Be nicer to yourselfSeriously, stop giving yourself such a hard time. Set yourself realistic expectations because you're definitely going to end up disappointed if your goal is to get a grad job that pays you £40,000 a year for 4 days a week's work. You can choose to set yourself goals that you can reach, you can choose to support yourself or you can choose to be hard on yourself and super critical. It's up to you but I know which one I'd prefer. The best way to start this is to be 100% honest with yourself. Ask yourself, would you expect the same from your best friend that you do from yourself? Probably not, give yourself a break! Remember that frustration, rejection and negativity happens to everyone and it's your choice how you deal with it.
2. Eat well, feel wellIt's a super cliche but if you're eating candy and drinking energy drinks you're going to feel like one big sugar crash. Make sure you're fuelling your body with the good stuff for 80% of the time and keep the chocolate buttons for a treat.
3. Tidy the hell upSeriously, do you feel stressed because your desk, office, bedroom or apartment is just one big floor-drobe or paperwork nightmare? This is probably contributing to you being unhappy. Have a huge clear out and get rid of anything that you own that you don't need and don't absolutely love. Yep, get rid of it!
4. Rethink your situationWhen you're feeling down, it's easy to think that everything is going bad. Take some time to list at least 3 things that you're thankful for and that you enjoy in your life. Look at the bigger picture, you may not have got that job that you wanted but maybe you still have a job that is supporting you financially, a great boyfriend or girlfriend and a hobby that you love doing. This is harder than it seems and you might not be able to do it all the time but, give it a go.
5. Find a healthier way to copeIf you react to stress and sadness by grabbing a bottle of wine before you head out to dance on tables or eating solely ice cream and watching Orange Is The New Black for a week straight, you need to change these up - they're not going to help your happy levels. If your 'coping' leaves you feeling out of control then you need to replace it. Sure, you can head out for a couple of cocktails with your friends or spend your Monday night watching Netflix instead of going to the gym if you want to but there needs to be a limit. If you head straight to the bar when things go bad, this can be a recipe for disaster. Try and replace your coping mechanisms with a healthier alternative like cooking, kickboxing, yoga or just chilling out and not thinking about it.
6. Don't be aloneSadness can be a lonely place and a problem shared can be a problem halved so talk to someone. Make it someone that you trust and that you know will be completely honest with you and not judge you. Alternatively, you don't even have to really talk about it if you don't want to but make sure you're not turning down a tonne of social invitations because if you just go, you might have an awesome time.
7. MindfulnessThis essentially means stop checking Instagram every 20 minutes and take some time to really be inside your own head. We're not expecting you to come out the other end of this blog post as a total meditation pro and yoga convert but perhaps just take a bath and read a book instead of catching up on Real Housewives. Try meditation apps that offer step by step short bursts of mindfulness to ease you in slowly if mindfulness seems really intimidating to you. Being mindful also means taking more notice of the present and not constantly thinking about things that have happened and things that might happen in the future. By being more mindful you should stop dwelling on things that are making you unhappy.
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