You know those days when you just want to stay in bed or if you did get up, you wished that you had listened to your first instinct and done the opposite? Those days which are a complete write off? When you just feel rubbish and are not in the mood to take on the world? Well, I have some news for you in case you didn’t already know.. EVERYBODY has them and more importantly, it is absolutely fine to have them.

In a world which is all go go go, it is so easy for us to be hard on ourselves when we have a bad day and don’t manage to achieve the things that we have planned to do. What we should be doing when we have one of these days is listening to our minds and bodies and giving them the break that they deserve.

Even though the terminology around mental health is thankfully becoming more widely used and publicly accepted, and awareness around mental health is increasing, unfortunately some stigma still remains attached. This prevents mental health from being completely normalised in society and in turn, makes some people afraid of acknowledging their issues and also speaking out about them.

Even the word ‘issues’, which typically follows ‘mental health’, is arguably the wrong word to use. Mental health shouldn’t be described as an issue, it is rather experience that everybody will have at some point and it shouldn’t be shied away from.

Now, I admit I am not a mental health expert, I am just your average person speaking truthfully about my interpretations of the world and what I believe to be true. Here is what I think about mental health:

1. The fact of the matter is that everybody has or will experience mental health issues (for want of a better word!) at some point in their lives.

2. The question is what are yours and to what extent do you suffer from them?

3. The action that you need to take is self care and/or speaking out.

Each individual will have their own story and own experiences and this is why it is so important to listen to yourself and learn to understand how you, your mind and body operates. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else.

Exercise is my saviour. I work out to keep my mental health, rather than my body, in shape (although it benefits both!). Whenever I feel stressed or anxious or let down by the world or whatever else, I work out. I force myself to go for a run, attend a gym class or even do a workout dvd at home, if I can’t muster the motivation or energy to leave the house. And afterwards I always feel better. Working out works for me. It helps me to beat my bad days. But there are so many other stress-busting or self care activities out there that you can do, it is just a matter of finding what works best for you and what helps you to beat your bad days.

If you are struggling to beat your bad days alone, then don’t be afraid of speaking out and asking for help. In fact, I urge you to. Whether you reach out to a family member, friend, partner, teacher, doctor, an organisation like the Samaritans, whoever it may be, a problem shared can be a problem halved. And just think, if people spoke out about mental health and beating their bad days more often, it would help to normalise mental health and it wouldn’t be such a taboo subject in the first place! You can help to break the cycle!

So the next time you have a bad day, don’t dwell on it, don’t feel bad about it and think of all the things you could have, would have, should have done. Instead, write the day off, give yourself a break, practice self care and do the thing that brings you back to your healthy self.

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Even in the gloomiest of days, you can find a little light if you look for it. This photo which I took in Torquay, captured this feeling for me.

How do you beat your bad days?

How can we make people feel confident enough to speak out about mental health?

L.