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I'm having a bad mental health day

We hear you, and you deserve acknowledgement for recognizing that you're in a fragile state right now.

Some things in life are out of our control. Just for a little while, let's set them aside and find things you can do, right now, to feel even a little better. You might only be able to take very tiny steps right now, and that's just fine.

The following is a collection of resources for simple and effective self-care, calming down, cheering up, and seeking additional help if you need it. We recommend starting with the checklist for improving your state of mind, and then browsing the rest of the page for the resources that best match your current situation and needs.

Disclaimer: We are not certified mental health professionals, and nothing we say in this article is medical advice. In an emergency, always call 911 (or your country's equivalent emergency line) first.

Checklist for improving your state of mind

This list is adapted from Everything Is Awful and I'm Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up

Are you hydrated?
If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?
If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day?
If not, take a shower right now.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?
If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip. If you are not able to walk, try raising your arms above your head for at least 30 seconds.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?
Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?
If not, jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite tempo, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song. Even if you are not able to get out of your chair or bed, try a hand jive or snapping your fingers.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?
If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?
If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then. If you don't have access to a therapist, look at our list of mental health resources.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand?
That may be screwing with your head. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

If daytime: are you dressed?
If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?
Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain (If you have an android phone: "Okay Google, play the sound of rain"), and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Do you feel ineffective?
Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing for a trip. Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?
Take a selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll help fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?
Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you over-exerted yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?
That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you waited a week?
Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

Still need more help?
Find a resource that can help you

Resources for calming down

Breathe

White noise

Showertime
The experience of taking a shower without the water. Allows you to control features such as length of shower, size of room, water pressure, etc.

Coffitivity
The background noise of a coffee shop. Allows you to choose between different locations such as lunchtime lounge, morning murmur etc. Has an app for iOS and Android as well as a desktop app for OS X.

Soundrown
A website with a sleek minimalist design, allows you to choose between rain, coffee shop, ocean, fire, bird noises, or a combination of the five.

Relaxing Snow
Visually beautiful falling snow, the website gives you the option to play music with the scenery, or to choose your own.

Raining.Fm
This website gives you the ability to adjust the rain to exactly how you’d like it, with options to tweak thunder, rain and storm noises. Has an app for iOS and Android, as well as a timer and snooze option.

Rain For Me
Simple rain effects with the option to download the audio files for offline listening.

Snowy Mood
Inspired by Rainy Mood, this website really makes you feel like it’s winter. Perfect for playing while snuggled up in a warm bed.

Rainy Cafe
Combines the sounds of a bustling cafe setting with the sounds of drizzling rain. Allows you to select the volume of each setting, or turn one off completely.

Noise Machines
Provides a huge number of customizeable soundscapes.

Meditate

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center Guided Meditations
8 free guided meditations meant to offer an introduction to mindfulness meditation that you can eventually practice on your own.

Calm
Offers some free guided meditations. Provides moving backgrounds and an option for guided calm which allows you to immerse yourself in the music and to relax. Has a free app for iPhone (though there are in-app purchases available.)

Guided practice for progressive muscle relaxation

Sleep

Sleep With Me Podcast
Bedtime stories to help grown ups fall asleep in the deep, dark night. The host talks softly about nothing in particular to help keep your mind off whatever distractions or anxiety are keeping you awake. The stories get less interesting as they go on, to release your mind into sleep.

Resources for cheering up

First, let's take care of the basics! Start with the checklist for improving your mental state.

Laugh

Silly animal photos

Cute baby animal photos

Move

The Fitness Marshall
Dance yourself happy with these guided, exuberant choreographies. Watch the backup dancers for easier variations.

Appreciate

Happiness Spells and Other Good Things Podcast
Five minute lists of happy things, read one at a time with pauses in between, so that you can remember a time when they were true for you, or imagine a time when they could be true for you in the future.

I'm concerned about a friend

We encourage you to share this page of resources with anyone you think would benefit from them, as most everyone can benefit from at least calming down and cheering up now and again!

If you're looking for additional ways to directly help a friend, we have a separate guide for you.

Global/online mental health resources

The Trevor Project
Suicide prevention phone hotlines, text , and online chat, available internationally. Anyone can use their resources, but they have LGBTQ-specific support centers as well.

SuperBetter
Become a super hero in your real life, active real life power ups, and battle the baddies of depression, anxiety and many more challenges.

"Playing SuperBetter for 30 days improves mood, reduces symptoms of anxiety & depression and increases belief in the ability to successfully achieve goals." --Results from a randomized controlled study conducted by The University of Pennsylvania

7 cups
Free, anonymous chat with trained active listeners and therapists. Try selecting "browse listeners" and choose who you would like to speak with if you don't want to be randomly assigned a listener.

Calm Harm app
Calm Harm is an award-winning app developed for teenage mental health charity stem4 by a clinical psychologist. Calm Harm provides tasks to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm. You can make it private by setting a password, and personalize the app if you wish. You will be able to track your progress and notice change.

Here For You RPR Group
If you need to vent and get support, this is a place where fellow RPR members go to talk when things aren't going so great. However, this group is NOT appropriate for dealing with suicidal ideation or self-harm.

United States mental health resources

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK

LGBTQ Youth (the Trevor Project): 1-866-488-7386

US Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

National Alliance on Mental Health
Non profit offering support for families and individuals in understanding mental illness and treatment resources. Although it's a national group, there are many state and local chapters, and they can help connect you with more resources that are local to your area, as well!

Living Works
Suicide intervention courses that are offered all around North America.

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
A suicide prevention hotline. This group also offers "microgrants" and other assistance to help trans persons change their legal names and update their government identification documents. Visit their website for more information about microgrants.

United Kingdom mental health resources

Suicide Stops' list of online suicide prevention chats

United Kingdom Samaritans
116 123
jo@samaritans.org

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide
0800 068 41 41 (weekdays 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, weekends 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and Bank Holidays 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM)
SMS: 07786 209 697
pat@papyrus-uk.org

ITV Gender dysphoria helplines

Canadian mental health resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-SUICIDE OR help lines and centers by province OR 911

Canadian Mental Health Association
An organization across Canada for free licensed counselling/therapy. All it takes is a confidential application & assessment that is done with an intake counsellor via phone, fax or email.

Kids help phone
24/7 counselling, online or on the phone. Safe, private and non-judgmental.

211
Mainly Canada (although there are some USA resources as well) is a keyword search engine for resources in your area, 24/7

Trans Lifeline: 877-330-6366
A suicide prevention hotline. This group also offers "microgrants" and other assistance to help trans persons change their legal names and update their government identification documents. Visit their website for more information about microgrants.

Australian mental health resources

Lifeline: 13-11-14

Kids help line for 5-25 yrs old: 1-800-55-1800

Beyondblue
A non-profit organisation focusing mainly on anxiety, depression and suicide. Provides "information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live."

headspace national youth mental health foundation
This organisation helps educate young people about mental health and seek out professionals to help them attain a 'better headspace'.

Japanese mental health resources

TELL
A suicide prevention centre. They have two numbers for English speakers, and native Japanese speakers as well. Hours are 9:00 - 23:00 daily.

English: 03-5774-0992

Japanese: 03-6229-5111

How to find other mental health resources

Almost every country has a similar suicide prevention number. Just Google suicide help line and your country. No matter what you’re going through, you are not alone. Please reach out to someone.

Have a suggestion for a resource we should include here?

If you have a suggestion for a way to improve this article, such as helping us identify and remove an out of date resource, a new link or tip that we should include, please let Kim know via PM!