Holly Golightly called it the mean reds. Not the blues, she clarified, but something a little more complex.
So that’s where self-care comes in. Small and very manageable ways to help lift your mood. Or at least, ways I can lift my mood when the mean reds kick in.
Let’s start easy. I’m not going to tell you to take a bath or have a walk. These are more of the hard love variety. And they do work.
- Actually get out of bed and have a shower. Wash your hair. Wash your body. Wash your face. Scrub. Scrub some stuff! Scrub away the shitty feelings. Shave your legs (or face, no shade!) and put on moisturiser. And then put some real clothes on (not pjs or undies). Wasting away in bed all day is misery and wallowing in your own fust is also especially gross. Time taken: at least five minutes.
- Make your bed. Seriously! Think about it. There’s something a bit sad about looking at a rumpled, unmade bed. Think about how nice it is to visit hotels and peel back fresh sheets. Good feeling, right? Right. So making your bed is a super quick way to do something that’s not actually lying in bed. Just try it. Time taken: one minute.
- Get into the sun. Sometimes I really have to be pushed to do this, but I am learning its benefits. It’s believed that sunlight can help the body produce serotonin. Time taken: as long or as short as you like but take some tea or a book with you if you need incentive to leave your smelly, shadowy, grotty bolthole. But don’t forget your sun protection either.
Next level. Now these can take as long as you like.
- Switch off. Again, something I need to be reminded of, and frequently. My day job involves typing or staring at a screen for nine hours. Ever noticed that at the end of a day at the computer you feel a bit ick? Not just you. I read a 2016 study conducted upon a group of freshmen, showing that those who had “higher screen time exposure” also experienced a downturn in their mental health. Read it here, including further reading on similar anecdotal studies. Turn off the phone or computer and look at something that isn’t powered by battery.
- Mask up. Make yourself feel good on the outside … I cringed writing that, but it is what it is. I am loving on the Mario Badescu Enzyme Revitalising Mask right now. I also got the Kosmea Five Minute Facial muslin cloth, which includes instructions on a quick massage. Pop on some facial oil, or a moisturiser that smells yum (or both) and you’ll feel better. Or at least a bit brighter.
- Do a couple of chores. Seriously! Put away dishes or start a load of laundry. You’ll feel accomplished, and doesn’t that make you feel good? Because let’s face it, if you knock over a load of maggoty bowls and have no clean undies while in the midst of your mean red moment, well, that can’t help.