When you suffer from a mental illness, every small thing in your path can feel like a gigantic obstacle. On the down days, your mind is chaos, everything inside you feels like clutter, and you don’t know what to do to feel better, much less be productive. But who says you have to be productive? Doing a bunch of to-do list items won’t make you any more worthy of love and happiness (hint: because you already deserve love and happiness!). For your own sense of accomplishment, and your mental and physical health, here’s something you can try.
The Bare Minimum
Pick 1-3 items (depending on how you feel) and try them. Your body, mind, and spirit will likely feel less cluttered and chaotic, and hopefully, a lot better.
- Make a”cleanse” drink out of warm water (microwaved for 1:30), apple cider vinegar, honey, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Add or subtract ingredients as necessary.
- Green tea can be used for the same effect (add honey, lemon juice, or cinnamon for an additional metabolism boost)
- If you don’t feel like making anything, keep your bottle of water handy and filled up–hydrate throughout the day. If you only have your hydration under control today, that’s okay. You’re still taking care of your body in that manner and you can be proud of that!
- Brush your teeth/use mouthwash for a delightful, clean feeling and a sense of accomplishment
- Use face wipe or wet washcloth to refresh your face in between showers. It’ll make you feel a bit better!
- Tidy up small areas of clutter, like a stack of mail on the counter, a few dirty clothes that you can put in the laundry, putting some dishes in the sink. Think small.
- Make your bed, if you aren’t in it! Small act, but it will make you feel a bit revitalized and will get you moving.
- Light candles, spray febreeze, and open a window to let in fresh air and/or light.
- Throw away trash that has accumulated
- Can include meditation, yoga, prayer, affirmations, listening to sermons, listening to positive/calm/spiritual-based music, reading the teachings of your specific religion/institution.
- Whatever you’re most comfortable with; it doesn’t have to be faith-based or anything like that. Just something to center your spirit, calm you and focus your thoughts.
The goal of the bare minimum is not to get you to check off a bunch of things on a list. It’s a cheat sheet to go to when you feel down, yucky, or icky and don’t know what to do. I often feel like a piece of shit if I just lie around and accomplish nothing. Yet there’s nothing I want to do. So if I do a few of these small things, I feel a little bit better. Of course, there are days where getting out of bed and making a meal are big enough accomplishments to hang a banner for. But on the other days when you can do a little, do the bare minimum. You’ll be surprised at the effect it has on your mentality and well-being, however small it might be.