Saying "just be happy" is all well and good for people who have no mental health issues. This issue seems similar to those who say that minimalism is easy for people with money. One of the reasons I started on this journey was to help with my unhappy moments.
I've written before that I felt stressed out and overwhelmed and that was one of the reasons I embraced this new way of living. What I didn't mention is I also have bouts of a few days at a time where I feel like I'm living under a dark cloud. Living under a cloud is the only way I can describe the feeling. I am perfectly able to cope, in fact most people probably don't even know I have this issue. It's entirely internal. Every thought is negative. I feel sad and lonely. I feel like snapping at those I love and don't want to be around anyone. I need to be by myself, I feel stressed out and I'm tired. My entire body aches all over. My creativity goes out the window and I feel like I can't work. I'm impatient with everything and little things like clearing the snow off my vehicle makes me so frustrated I want to cry. I cry at the smallest thing. Anger, frustration, loneliness, sadness, irritation, and bitterness are the words I'd use to describe these "cloud" days. I've had this for as long as I can remember but only recently have been able recognize what it is. This is the time when I NEED sugar (see my post about sugar). Shopping was my way of feeling better. Now these 2 "fixes" are no longer part of my lifestyle.
Disclaimer: I do not claim, nor hope to be qualified to help others with their mental health. I am merely journaling my journey on a road to self discovery. This is NOT intended as advice for anyone but myself.
Since starting minimalism, these "cloud" days have gotten fewer and less intense. I still have them, in fact I have one right now- which is why I've chosen to write this right now. It hasn't been easy but here are a few of my coping mechanisms:
How I CHOOSE to be happy
Avoid foods that I know don't make me feel good, like sugar.
Take Vitamin B
Have something to look forward to each day
Go to sleep at the same time each day and get up at the same time each day
Get dressed every day
Do my hair every day
Make my bed
Actively think about things that made me happy during the day
Express my thanks, even it's just to my bed covers for keeping me warm
Watch my children play
Play with my children
Talk to someone I enjoy talking to
Smile, especially when you don't feel it
Clean my house
Look for the silver lining in bad situations
Take deep breaths from the bottom of my lungs (Maybe one day I'll post about how to breath and the difference it's made in my life)
Take a nap
Do something that I enjoy as a reward (like painting, or drawing)
Make a plan for each day so I am organized and not rushed and I have a purpose
Write a "To Do" list that is detailed and remember to check things off (occasionally when I'm feeling unproductive, I'll write down something I've already done and check it off just to show myself that I am actually productive)
Avoid long periods of thinking (usually I do this by listening to Audiobooks)
Listen to/Read a happy story
Get rid of clutter
These are some of the tools I use and how I choose to be happy. They aren't failsafe and I'm sure I will add more tools as time goes on but for now this is what I have.
So, this week, I have an arsenal of tools at my disposal to make me feel better but my grumpy mind is telling me that it wants to be grumpy. These tools aren't working. My mind is refusing to try these things. It's making me frustrated, however, just the act of blogging my list has made me feel like an idiot for not doing what I know will make me better!
The reason I began this blog was to help me on my journey to find more meaning in life and voila! This post has already done it for me!! Thanks! (see I'm expressing gratitude! 😁)