Notes to self, on a down day

Go outside. I know that when you’re capital d Down your uniform is pyjamas and your place of residence the sofa and the sound of the telly dulls the chaos of your brain but just put on your trainers and go outside. Fresh air, daylight, the breeze, they’ll all do you good. Remind yourself that the world is bigger than how you feel right now.

Eat something. Two words: mashed potato.

Tea. And water. And lots of it.

Sleep. Stop watching garbage on TV and sleep. Stop scrolling through Instagram feeds of people you don’t know, stop clicking through to yet another compilation video of America’s Next Top Model’s Most Shocking Moments (Part 8), and sleep. You will feel better, even if only physically, and even if just for five minutes, when you wake up tomorrow. Go to bed. Commit to it. And do it over and over and over. See the clock strike 9pm and start to wind down.

Breathe. Just stop what you’re doing and focus on your breath. Air in and out. It doesn’t have to be any more philosophical than that. In for four, out for four. Just take a step back from whatever you’re doing and breathe.

Move. You know you normally feel better after a walk. You know you normally feel better after a run. You know that after you had that really bad day at work and you wanted to just come home and put on your trackies and order a pizza and cry and instead you went to your favourite class with Leo and just the distraction of an exercise routine and concentrating on the steps and sweating it out a bit made you feel much better.

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Talk. You are blessed with very good friends and very good family and a very good Grandma who lives for your phone calls. Call one of them. Talk this through. Problem shared, problem halved. It’s a cliché but you are a talker and talking helps you rationalise things. You would want the same for them.

Remember. Think about the things you can do, rather than what you can’t. Listen to a Brazilian song and remind yourself that it’s a language foreign to your own that you can understand. Look back at something you’ve written, with its typos and poor grammar usage and failed puns, and see only that you sat and committed to writing and made yourself vulnerable by putting it out into the world. Eat a meal you cooked from scratch. Make the bed. Remember, if nothing else, you are pretty goof at looking after yourself.

Turn. Off. Your. Damned. Phone. Social media does you no good when you feel like this. You know that. You scroll, you scroll, you scroll, you waste hours and nothing good comes of it. Read a book instead. Sleep instead. Go out instead. Do anything instead.

Write. There’s nothing scarier than a blank page. Fill one. Fill it with everything you’re worried about and that’s making you unhappy and see it laid out in front of you.

Do. Is there something you can do to make this better? Do it.

Accept. Is there nothing you can do to make this better? Accept it.

Notice. The colour of the sky. The sound of the birds. The feel of gravel under foot. Look at everything like a kid. Pull a leaf of the tree as you walk past. Skim your hand across the top of a brick wall. Remind yourself that there are tiny things to find joy in, that keep on existing, just outside of your front door, even when you feel like this.

Brush your hair. Wash your face. Leave the house with a couple of quid and a book and sit in a café and read. Remind yourself that this too, like summers and that time in 2005 when you wore a lot of ponchos and every bad day you have had so far, shall pass. Sit with it. Feel it. And know that it will not last.

Cait MeredithComment