Mental illness in college is something that many of us struggle with, with the most common afflictions being depression and anxiety. Personally, I know my depression by the way that it keeps me rooted to my bed, exhausted and unmotivated to accomplish much of anything.
If this sounds familiar to you, you probably also know how impossible it can be to live with this mental illness. You have classes to go to, a job or internship you have obligations to, friends and family that are worried about you. It’s hard.
Because there will always be a day where you’d rather be a hermit instead of pretend to be okay, here are some ways to make your depression days easier on yourself:
1. Shower, but make it easy
Sometimes, the simplest things that we take for granted in our daily routine are the hardest to accomplish on depression days. On the days that I stay in bed because of my mental demons, the first thing to get thrown away is my hygiene routine.
The way that I’ve solved this is by reducing my routine to a few simple steps so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. For instance, instead of my usual shampoo and conditioner, I reach for a 2-in-1, or on the really tough days, I just the dry shampoo. Instead of worrying about washing my face, I grab a face wipe. (I love Burt’s Bees face wipes for these kinds of days.)
These changes are enough to keep me feeling fresh and stop me from feeling worse than I would have if I skipped out, without forcing myself to spend all my limited energy on getting ready for the day.
2. Find a way to get all the nutrients that you need.
If you find yourself without an appetite on your depression days, there are several ways to make sure you get the nourishment you need.
Whether it’s a depression day or not, get started taking a multivitamin so that you can supplement your food intake on your bad days.
Another thing to keep in mind is having simple, easy to prepare food around the house/dorm. Whether it’s pre-prepared meals or smaller, healthy snacks, just keeping something around to make sure that you do eat and aren’t overwhelmed is so important. See our list of pantry/freezer staples for these items and more, and don’t miss our guide on how to eat healthy on a bad mental health day.
3. Find a small way to remind yourself of the good times.
There are so many ways to do this, and they can be as small or as big as you need them to be. From writing a list of what you’re grateful for, to using a mental health app (or going to visit your therapist), to reaching out to your support system, you have so many options.
My suggestion is that on a better day, you go through your personal needs and see how you can address them. Need someone to talk to on your bad days? Save a list of who you’re most comfortable contacting for when the next bad day hits.
Would you rather kick it by yourself but up your mood? Make a list of your favorite playlists and movies, something low-key that you can reach for when you’re too tired to accomplish your hobbies.
4. Celebrate your depression day accomplishments!
Even if you feel like you’re doing the bare minimum on your bad mental health days, take a moment to celebrate what you are doing. The coping journey with mental health is all about progress and not perfection, after all.
If you managed to wash your dishes on your dark day, great job! If you reached out to someone and were open about what you’re struggling with, kudos! How you celebrate is all up to you, but take the time to actually recognize what you’re doing!
Mental illness is a heavy load to bear, no matter what, don’t give up on that fight!
What do you think?
How do you cope with your depression? What are ways that you keep functioning on your bad days? How can College Fashion help you this month? Let us know in the comments!