By Jaylen Mitchell
As person who is dealing with their own personal mental health issues, this time of the year can be the worst for people in the same boat.
Through my experiences in the past, I have found ways to help ease some of the stress and weight that mental illness brings to the table.
I’m not saying you have my word that these tips are going to work for you, though. Consider it more of a guide to navigate the rough winter ahead.
Change Your Surroundings And Settings
It’s probably time for you to get those 12 bottles of water that have been collecting dust in the corner out of your way.
Change your room. Winter cleaning is essential for the mind. It helps you move on from the built-up drag of stress that has attached itself to your living space.
Cleaning can also be therapeutic. It is a way to remove clutter from your life. Cleaning your closet, donating clothes and throwing things into storage is your best bet. That hoodie you’ve been holding onto since sixth grade is not giving you the space you need to grow — because it doesn’t fit anymore.
Getting Out And Seeing The World
You don’t have to hang out. The best thing for you right now, even though deep down you might hate it, is getting out and socializing.
Even if you’re just going outside, that is good, too. Sitting in the house and binge watching your favorite show is probably not your best bet. Finding a friend group to be around can help, too, because sometimes that’s what you need to become a better person in the winter.
But you don’t have to hang out. Don’t force yourself if you aren’t ready. Some social settings can make things even worse.
Watch What You Watch
Limit the amount of content you consume.
Even though this is a time to stay inside and catch up on your favorite shows or get around to listening to those albums you been meaning to listen to, limiting your content every day allows you to have a tiny event to look forward to every day.
Listen, this is going to to suck, because everyone says it. But, getting outside and exercising is good.
I know, you’re saying, “But it’s 30 degrees outside!” Even if you don’t go outside, at least do some pushups at home or go up and down the stairs.
Exercise is essential. A good workout is, in many cases, 10 times better than the good ole depression nap.
Tis The Season To Focus On You
Yes, everybody has problems. Finding gifts for people, money, finals.
Guess what, you’re not the only one.
Your friends are going through the same thing, and they are going to want to talk to you about their problems, too. This is the time of year when you have to take care of yourself first. Don’t push them away, but also let them know that they are not the only ones going through something.
Just because you can’t help them right now, or next week, doesn’t mean you don’t care. Just let them know you might be able to help them with their problems after you take care of yourself. Tell them this is that special time of year for you to focus on you.
Treat Yourself To Things You Like
I’m not saying go out and splurge, like, “Oh, I need a Playstation!” That’s nice if you are economically able to.
But for those of us who see that as a bank breaker, maybe a $5 movie or a small sweet treat is the better option. Or maybe a shirt that’s on sale. If you see something and you want it, don’t limit yourself to “Do I really need it?”
Still, don’t splurge. You do not want the added stress of asking “Why did I just buy a 4K TV?” Keep it to the small things.
Let Yourself Laugh, Watch a Comedy
I can pull out some BS statistic that says, “Doctors say that laughing and smiling can release feel-good chemicals in your body.” But we both know that watching a good comedy or childhood favorite makes you feel good inside.
So, there’s some merit in those stats. But don’t force yourself to smile through the worst times. You will look like a maniac.
Find A Hobby
Yeah, another one of those “top five tips” here, but finding a hobby does help for some people.
I know you’re gonna be like, “I’m not good at art,” or “I can’t throw a sport ball.” But a hobby doesn’t have to be hard. It can be something simple like making a playlist, blogging, learning an instrument.
It’s another thing that gives you motivation at the end of the day. It makes the days not seem so long.
Change Your Appearance
I’m not saying you should go out and drop $300 on clothes.
Changing your appearance can be simple. A nice haircut, new glasses, dyeing your hair, layering your outfits to show some style or adding new things to your wardrobe.
It just matters that you’re at least changing and becoming a person you seem to like more.
Jaylen, 17, is a senior at Druid Hills High School and a devout Gorillaz fanboy.
This story was published at VOXAtl.com, Atlanta’s home for uncensored teen publishing and self-expression. For more about the nonprofit VOX, visit www.voxatl.org.