I feel as though I’ve hit a bit of a mental and emotional slump recently.
Nearly everyday my memory regurgitates something I read a while ago, about how you have to accept that there will always be somebody more intelligent, or prettier or better at “X” than you are. …And the list goes on. In fact, London is the perfect place to be reminded of how small you are in the scheme of things.I’m originally from a small village semi-rural village in the East Midlands – I’m a tiny fish from a backyard pond who’s leapt before she’s properly looked, straight into the turbulent, fathomless ocean. I’m afraid that I’ll be swallowed up into permanent insignificance, that I’ll never make a name for myself. Have I been conned into thinking I’ll make my fortune here, like a modern Dick Whittington? At least he had a cat for company.
So to try and buck myself up a bit (because I can’t stand wallowing and feeling weak, its inefficient and pointless), I’m going to discuss may favourite coping mechanisms when I’m feeling a little lost, sad or unmotivated. In no particular order:
1. Draw out your feelings
Everyone has the potential to be an artist. Creativity is a muscle that can only get stronger through dedication and practice, and like the physical human body, some people are born with an obvious advantage. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hone your own talent and explore what you can do. Find the medium the feels natural and therapeutic to you – there are so many out there, so there’s no excuse. For me, what consistently works is a simple blank piece of paper and a biro. I love the scratchy, inky permanence of the pen; its a challenge to try and avoid any mistakes, or tweak them into something beautiful should they arise. And ultimately its a giant distraction from how shitty I might be feeling.
2. Make a playlist that speaks for you
I’m terrible at expressing how I feel vocally. I can’t bring myself to tell people that I’m feeling unhappy or angry or whatever. This is because I believe that there is no spoken explanation that would ever suffice, or do justice to the thoughts and chemicals burning in my mind. The risk of being misunderstood is too great. Instead, I find comfort in creating a musical atmosphere than I can diffuse my emotions into – its a release. I find a number of songs with a musical feel that resonates with my current mood, and try to order them in such a way that flows… So when I play it, and usually, the internal noise calms itself for a while, allowing me to let go.
3. Rant and rave in a journal/blog
I used to do this a lot on the internet, through an anonymous blog. There are plenty of free platforms out there, (tumblr, Blogspot, WordPress etc.) where you can create an as far-fetched alias for yourself as you desire. Speak about whatever you want, and be safe in knowing that your passive-aggresssive comments about the daily figures and experiences in your life will have little consequence. Just have some discretion, for fucks sake, avoid being an offensive asshole. We already have plenty of those.
4. Get your sweat on
Go for a run, a brisk walk. Do some HIITs, lift some weights, punch something soft and inanimate. Filtering emotions through something physical is a great way to boost those ‘happy endorphins’ (like seratonin), which is a surefire way banish bad moods. Plus you’re making your body stronger. And if you commit to fitness, your body will only reward you with heightened physical and mental health, meaning the blues become a less likely reoccurence.
5. Watch something that you know will emotionally move you
Its easy to find a film or TV series that’ll seemingly distract you. But here’s the key criteria – Similarly to provoking a release through music, select something that’s going to, even if its only faintly, reflect your feelings. For example, if my mood is tinged with sorrow, for whatever reasons, I might choose to watch the evocative anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Plus, if it’s something you’ve experienced before, the familiarity will most likely feel comforting, whilst also providing a source of escapism. Cry it out, its okay.
6. Look at the Stars
This one is hard to explain, and its extremely subjective. In the most basic terms, by looking up at the huge twinkling expanse of night sky, I find myself feeling a little more peaceful, and less alone. My breathing becomes even, and I stop thinking so hard. We’re all under this same sky, we’ve all looked up at those stars… In this kind of context, we’re all on the same level of insignificance, you could say. …It might work for you. Try it.