When dealing with mental health, it's often the little things that can make a big difference. We're constantly told to 'deal with it' and hear well-intended but useless things such as 'have you tried yoga?' People seem to forget, for many, getting out of bed in the morning can be the biggest challenge of the day. With that in mind, I've complied a list of things that - I hope - can help improve your day.
Please bear in mind these are just suggestions based on what works for me. Everyone is different so if these don't help don't be discouraged. You'll find something that does.
One of the first things I do every morning is make my bed. It makes my room instantly look tidier and makes me feel better about everything. I'm not constantly looking at it and thinking 'how can I do anything if I can't even make my bed? My life is a mess just like the covers.'
Wash your face
When you go to the bathroom, splash some water over your face. Not only does it refresh you and help keep your skin clear, you can view it as washing sleep and procrastination away in order to start your day properly. Failing that, cold water definitely shocks you into waking up fully.
Even if it takes you until five o'clock in the evening and your only change your underwear or your shirt, getting out of your pyjamas can have a huge impact on your productivity. If you aren't wearing sleepwear you'll be less likely to feel that's all you can do.
Listen to your body and respect when you need to step down from things. If you need to stop for a snack, have one! If you want to watch your favourite show, do it! Just try not to tell yourself 'just one more episode...' That never ends well.
If you need some motivation make some to-do lists. Perhaps do this the night before so that you have a plan of action for the next day and aren't left thinking 'I can't do anything I haven't made a list!' It can give your day structure, and for some this can be a massive help.
Don't overload yourself
That being said, don't give yourself hundreds of tasks, and don't tell yourself you have to do all the strenuous things in the same day. Know your limits and work with them. If you take medication that makes you sleepy, don't set tasks after taking it. If you have a deadline that's causing anxiety, split the workload into lots of small parts rather than cramming it all into an hour. You have to do what's best for you.
Don't beat yourself up
If you set out to do ten things but only manage two, you've still done things! You haven't failed. You haven't let anyone down. The fact that you were able to do those two things is fantastic, and it means you have two fewer tasks to do next time. Small victories add up.
Take each day as it comes
And don't forget: we all have bad days. If you wake up feeling dreadful and can't bring yourself to even get out of bed, that's okay. You aren't useless or a waste of space. You can't help your mental health, but at the same time you're so much more than it. Take a day or two to recharge and then break back into things slowly. You can do this.