Mental Health / lazy girl's guide

A lazy girl’s guide to good mental health

. 7 min read . Written by Nruthya Johnson
A lazy girl’s guide to good mental health

Sometimes, life can be overwhelming.

Like right now, for instance, this lazy girl is trying to finish her article while distracting herself from her surgery later today. Because this is absolutely the perfect time to write an article. But for someone like you, there may be days when you feel like the whole universe is conspiring against you and your happiness.

As someone who’s not usually in a good mental space, it’s not totally unheard of to get some cliche and toxic positive advice from people who can’t comprehend mental illnesses for the life of them. “Just be happy!” Oh god, why didn’t I think of that? I’m so dumb.

If only it were that easy! Maybe cleaning and organising your entire house or exercising for 90 minutes might actually do your brains some good, but who has the time or the energy or the motivation to do that? Definitely not lazy people!

As a fellow lazer, it only seems fair to give you tips on improving your mental health the lazy way. And no, it does not involve exercise or a 75-step self-care routine. Here’s what you can do to improve your mental health with minimal effort:

1.Watch a stand-up comedy show

As someone who would live and breathe stand-up comedy if given a chance, it seems obvious to recommend this to you. You don’t necessarily need to be in the shallow end of the pool of depression or anxiety (and your tears) for this to be an effective medicine.

The psychological benefits of laughter are pretty significant, so if you want to laugh at someone’s pain, who better than comedians to laugh with?

An hour (or few) of distraction won’t make your problems disappear, but it’ll definitely give you a much-deserved pleasant break.

2. Socially distance from social media

This is the most important diet you need to be on. Instead of doom scrolling and comparing yourself to the fancy rich person who had an expensive dish that had nothing on it, or trying to live up to unrealistic standards — the ‘ideal beauty’, the ‘ideal body shape’, the ‘ideal amount of online shopping you can do before online retailers proclaim you their most purchasing customer’.

Your body needs good food and your mind needs good content (like this right here, congrats, wink wink). Social media is way too addictive and way too accessible to be good for you.

Just ask any billionaire who has had to buy an entire social media platform just so he could hide embarrassing pictures of himself. Sure, scrolling online on sites clicking ‘add to cart’ and being on Instagram swiping on memes or cringe TikTok dances feels rewarding (not judging, you do you, boo!), but is it really?

Limit your time on social media and do an Eat, Pray, Love version for yourself without all the effort because guess what? You’re already in India and you don’t have to travel, unlike Julia Roberts!

3. Be lazy

Why take on all the pressures of the world and spiral out of control when you can just… not? Sometimes relaxing isn’t so relaxing because even though you might not be crossing off important things in your task list, you might still be worrying about not doing them or thinking about that one stupid thing you did 16 years ago.

The good news is that there’s a place you can relax better and it’s open to everyone, as long as you put on some pants and actually leave your front door. This magical place is called — wait for it — the outside world!

The fresh air and sunlight can be therapeutic most of the time (minus the people if that’s not your jam).

4. Cut yourself some slack

Sure, sometimes telling someone to calm down has the opposite effect, but not when you’re telling it to yourself (sometimes). Try meditating and let these thoughts pass by instead of trying to fight them. And no, you don’t have to pose cross-legged and float on air; you can meditate while lying in bed too!

Meditation is often recommended as it reduces stress, improves sleep, decreases your blood pressure and is even proven to improve your emotional health.

Seriously, Starbucks has got nothing on meditation. Get that heavy blanket, get under it, and pray that you are safe from murderers and the monsters under your bed, as you befriend the positive thoughts in your head.

5. Open up about how you feel

Venting or ranting feels good for a reason. It’s no fun holding in all those negative emotions inside you. Like a pressure cooker, eventually, you have to blow off some steam. Speak to people and explain how you’re feeling. And no, not with the coworker who always gives you the stink eye.

Stay connected with people who understand your feelings and your highs and lows. Reach out to them whenever you need emotional support or help.

Ask for help when you need it, whether it’s to talk about that coworker who gives you the stink eye or your mom who won’t stop telling you to get married. Just a little tip: Don’t start with a “We need to talk” or the person you wanted help with for your anxiety will feel anxious, and that’s just irony at its best, isn’t it?

6. Did somebody order TLC?

Yes, I did. For you. Relax in a warm bath. Wear pyjamas that have holes in them (other than the 3 you need). Cancel plans left, right and centre. Change your identity and hop on to a flight to a new country to ensure that no one who knows you is judging you in real time. Take a shower to have philosophical thoughts and even try your hand at the audition for Indian Idol because we all know that bathrooms are great for music.

Basically, treat yourself.

Get some sleep. Hell, as a lazy girl myself, I encourage you to sleep however much you want. As long as you’re not falling asleep at the dinner table or while you’re giving an important presentation. Invest in yourself, set time aside, pamper yourself, and attend to your own needs for once.

7. Learn how to say ‘no’

I know it sounds difficult and next to impossible, but I believe in you. Trying to do more than you can take on will only leave you frustrated. Just like you can set your phone on DND, set yourself to your newly discovered Do Not Disturb mode. Say ‘no’ to new tasks if you feel you’re taking on too much. It’s okay to wish that you could tell people to stop sending you emails and ask them to solve their own problems. Until they make rudeness socially acceptable, just say “no.”

Focus on what you’ve achieved, and not on what you haven’t. Journal and track your achievements. Try writing down at least 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you were able to accomplish on a given day.

If you stopped yourself from ordering the 743 items from your wishlist, or moved your clothes from ‘that chair’ (albeit onto your bed), that’s good too! Be very specific about them — and hey, reading this today counts as one accomplishment, so gold star for you!

8. Identify your triggers

Sometimes, self-care isn’t enough. Learn to recognise the signs. Identify and challenge your negative thoughts to a duel with your conservative family members. Trust me, no one does it better than family.

Maybe it’s a family vacation that gets you to conclude why you never hang out together, or that manager who seems to have some kind of weirdly specific memory loss issue where they don’t remember important tasks to assign to you until 5:55 PM on a Friday.

Identify what sets you off into a bad mood, so you know how to avoid it next time. Instead of overthinking the negatives, try to focus on the positives.

9. Talk to a therapist

No, your cat doesn’t count. Talk to a professional therapist and get the help you deserve.

It’s important to know that it’s okay to ask for and need help. Therapists exist for a reason. And no, you don’t need to be diagnosed with a mental illness to seek therapy.

Unlike your relatives who hit you with a “log kya kahenge?,” therapists don’t tell you how to live your life; they only help you make informed choices and guide you to understand your triggers and work through them.

So hey, maybe you don’t always have it in you to try to have it all, but at least you have a few simple, lazy hacks to help you improve your mental health.

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