Warning: this post will not be a happy one and deals with depression.
Hej hej, so we all know posts where many people give tips and tricks on how to battle (winter) depression. You get tips like, take vitamin D pills, enjoy the sun while its out, or talk to friends or family. But sometimes, life is harder than that. Some days, you don’t want to get out of bed, you don’t have the energy to go outside or talk to anyone. What then?
Well, honestly, some days are as they seem; they’re going to be bad. You’re going to want to stay in and just not deal with any issues that day and that is totally ok. We are all led to believe that being sad or depressed is a weakness, and something we must combat and get rid of as soon as we can. But it truly isn’t that easy and some days it’s best to just feel awful and embrace those feelings you’re facing. So, this post won’t be tips on how to get rid of the blues or combat them, but a post on how to deal with awful days and embrace these feelings so you can make the best out of an awful day. Let’s begin…
I have days where I do not want to come out of bed or even exist. How can I possibly go outside and enjoy the sun if getting out of bed is already my biggest struggle? I don’t. These days I just stay inside and take my time with every step I take during the day. I take my time to get out of bed, make the simplest breakfast I can, and on days that I don’t even want to eat, I at least drink water to get something in my body. Instead of going to the university or forcing myself outside and getting dressed, I rinse my face with water and give myself one compliment to start the day. Even if the compliment is simply “great job, you got out of bed today!”. Rinsing my face wakes me up a little bit and the compliment shifts my mood a tiny bit so I can at least continue with my day. But trust me, even rinsing my face or giving myself a compliment can be hard, but I force myself to do this because I know it does help me, even if it’s a tiny bit.
On “good” bad days, I also put on my comfiest clothes to feel cosy inside. If I have time, I also put on my favourite song and try to dance or sing a bit to get some happiness and energy for the day. I then get myself back in bed and try to understand what could be making me feel the way I am today. But honestly, most days there isn’t an answer to this, and I have to learn to accept that my mood today just isn’t the best. The rest of the day, I try to put on comfort tv shows or movies, play videogames, write in my journal to get my feelings off my chest, or just cry it out. I feel like getting my emotions out helps me feel better and at least gets it off my chest instead of cropping it all in. If I have energy, I also try to do something fun and creative, like draw, paint or even play my piano. It also helps to get my feelings off my chest and just be free and truly feel what I’m feeling. One day, I simply coloured a blank page completely black and while it might not be the most creative or pretty thing, it really did help me and made me focus on something other than my awful day.
But on really bad days, I just try to rinse my face, give myself a compliment and then get back in bed and do completely nothing. Of course, I still bring a bottle of water with me to bed because if I’m going to be sad, at least I can be hydrated while doing so. But I don’t force myself to do more than I can and just allow myself to lay in bed and gather my feelings. It sounds sad, but some days that’s all one can do and that is ok.
Of course, as a student sometimes you cannot afford to just lay in bed and do nothing. But instead of pressuring myself to get everything done as I usually would, I set some small goals for the day. Last time, I had to read sources and write paragraphs for my essay. Instead, I chose to only read my sources or at least read the introduction and conclusions of my sources and make short notes on topics or sentences I think would be important for my essay. This way, I at least made a start and the next day I had an idea on what I can write about. One other time, I needed to just write my essay and that day I had no energy to come up with academic sentences. So, instead I wrote down my thoughts and what I wanted to say in different paragraphs. I wrote down things like “I really want to write about Bourdieu and his concept of Habitus and field. I need to explain the educational field since my topic is about xxxx”. These were very vague comments, but it helped me the next day when writing, since I at least had something on paper and knew what I wanted to do. So, my tip for bad days where you still need to do something is to not force yourself to do too much when you know you simply cannot. Do what you can, even if its “bad”. Because trust me, doing something, even if its “bad”, is better than doing nothing.
Ending this blog post, I want to remind you that these bad days do pass but shouldn’t be ignored. It is okay to not be okay and it is okay to do less. Don’t overexert yourself and just do as much as you can to go through those days! Even if its just drinking some water and crying it out. Trust me, we have all been there and there is no shame in it!
And if you have trouble getting out of those bad days, the student health services are always here to help you. And trust me, you might not want to talk to anyone, and you might feel ashamed for how you’re feeling, but they truly do want to help and sometimes simply talking to them can help. You can also tell them you do not feel like going outside, and they can possibly arrange something for you via zoom. This way you can still stay in bed but still have someone to help you through this. It is also very important to tell your student coordinator that you are feeling this way if it is affecting your schoolwork. They are also here to help and can help you find solutions to this.
Stay safe, please be kind to yourself and you can get through this!