How to pull yourself out of dark days

Gil Cadiz

“When it rains, it pours” is an all-too-familiar proverb to us.

We all hit low points in our lives where it feels like we’re going through so much alone and the end is far from sight. We’re tormented and consumed by the whys, what ifs, in onlys and maybes.

We get so confused between reassuring ourselves that things will get better and second-guessing our abilities, our decisions and our self-worth.

These thoughts play in our minds on an endless loop, giving us mental exhaustion that takes quite a toll on our health. We struggle to get sleep, yet we entertain the feeling of not wanting to wake up in the morning.

We snicker at the meme that says, ‘Pag may pinagdadaanan ka, daanan mo lang, huwag mong tambayan’, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

While navigating through dark days is soul-sucking AF, there’s quite a chance one can make it out alive and even stronger if they just continue to put one foot in front of the other.

Here are surprising little steps that you can take to make it through the rain.

Be kind to yourself.

Don’t beat up yourself too much. Deal with it the best way you can. Remember the battles you’ve won that put you right where you are now. You didn’t come this far just to concede to a temporary setback in guise of better opportunities ahead. A difficult time is the best time to practice an attitude of gratitude.

Give yourself a social media detox.

When you’re going through a rough patch, the last thing you need is to see your friends’ social media posts. You see their latest travel pics or their latest purchases, and next thing you know, you’re comparing your shitty life to their ‘awesome’ life, and that only amplifies your sadness and anxiety. Remind yourself that they too have their own problems and struggles. They just don’t broadcast them.

Do something cathartic.

Read or watch something sad. Empathizing with a flawed and struggling character can help ease your pain even if it’s just for a little bit of time in a day. Don’t do it on repeat, though. Just allow your emotions to relate and transfer to their stories, but when it’s over, you move on. Other options would be to write down your thoughts in a journal or to channel your frustrations to create art. Odd forms of catharsis are also ok, as long as you don’t harm yourself and others in the process.

Clean or tidy up your place.

You’ll be surprised how therapeutic cleaning and tidying up can be. Bring out the Marie Kondo in you and purge clothes and knick-knacks that don’t spark joy anymore. By doing this, you’re saying goodbye to the old and making space for the new, which could cosmically help summon the resolution for your pressing problem.

Take long walks.

You might not have the energy to hit the gym but take long walks, at least. That will get your mind off things for a little while, while still allowing your body to produce endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals. A lot of people find clarity from walking or just by looking at and appreciating random things like flowers, trees, clouds, etc.

Go somewhere you’ve never been before.

It doesn’t have to be a grand vacation. You can check out a new mall, stroll around a park or buy some fresh produce at a weekend market. These are healthy alternatives to keeping yourself holed up in your room and wallowing in helplessness and self-pity.

Meet up with a good friend.

You might not want people to see you in your sullen mood, but there’s a great amount of comfort to have from hanging out with a sensible and sensitive friend with whom you can open up about your situation. They don’t have to act as your therapist or counselor, but they could offer you a new perspective that can help you break through. So, set that coffee date!

Cry and just let it all out.

Don’t ever think that you’re weak just because you’re breaking down. Bottling up your emotions could make your hormones go bonkers and that is not good for your health. Let it all out but do it in a private and safe place, or else douchebags might prey on you and take advantage of your situation.

Don’t neglect yourself.

Never slack off in taking care of yourself. Shower every day, always make your bed and wear clean clothes. Fight your lack of appetite by eating small but healthy meals more frequently and having it with the people you like. Allow yourself to have a drink or two but don’t make your predicament a license to binge drink as that would only lead to more undesirable developments. Sticking to your sunny day routine during gloomy days will keep you on the right track to recovery.

Binge-watch dog and cat videos.

Cuddly pets bring love and companionship to their humans. Their hugs, happy noises and wagging tails are absolute stress busters. If you don’t have one, well, studies find that watching doggo and pussy vids can boost positive emotions. Watch as many as you can!

These aren’t surefire ways to get over dark days, but just little ways that can help keep you from further spiraling down into the pit of despair as you deal with the curve ball life has thrown you.

Remember, there’s always someone who can help you. If it’s not your family or friends, then yourself.

SEE ALSO: A chat with the founder of Pana, PH’s first mental health subscription box

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