This is the hill we shall die on: stretching does good things to your brain (and your body, of course). Went too hard at footy practice? Stretch. Back and legs cramping from hours of non-stop sitting and studying? Stretch. Unable to focus and feel like you’ve got ants chewing on your brain? STRETCH.
Here’s why it helps:
Stretching requires you to focus on your body as a whole, and not just on your turbulent thoughts and feelings. When you do a set series of stretches slowly and carefully, focusing on each limb as you go through the movements, it will help you to slow down your breathing, soothe tension and aches in the areas where you “hold” your stress (such as your neck, back, shoulders or legs), and quiet your thoughts for a moment. Stretching creates a space for you to catch your mental breath – and then you can move on to the next step. (Also, when you’re done with stretching, you’ll feel good about having simply DONE something. Bonus!)
Need some good stretches to help with anxiety? Check these out to get you started:
2. Turn on some music
As much as we love Taylor Swift, we don’t think "Folklore" is the go-to album when you’re already feeling a bit blue. Yes, it’s gorgeous. But it’s also very downbeat and the last thing you want is to curl into an even smaller ball of melancholy.
Music can be a wonderful way to lift your spirits – but it can also be a downer. Choose your rainy-day playlist carefully to make sure that it serves its purpose. Which is making you feel a bit less lost, of course. Focus on favourite feel-good tunes with these FGI (Feel Good Index) characteristics (yes, actual research has been done about what makes for a great feel-good tune!
- A fast tempo of about 150 BPM (beats per minute),
- Happy lyrics,
- A major third musical key.
Bonus points for any songs that involuntarily make you dance or tap your feet to the beat – there’s a reason why we “dance it off”.
Not a music major so not sure what all this means? Check out our How to deal with rainy days playlist on Spotify for some examples of tunes that score high on the FGI for inspiration:
Make a list. Check it twice.
If you’ve checked stretching and listening (and maybe dancing) to something happy off your list, you should feel a little bit stronger, and hopefully ready for the next step: making a very short To Do-list for your day. And we’re serious about keeping it short: you don’t have to be super productive every day, especially if you’re feeling down. So just choose three key things you’d like to check off your list for today. This could be simple, like “take a shower”, “respond to friend’s text” and “walk around the block”. Or a bit more complex: “apply for one job”, “set up savings account”, “write English paper”. You get the idea: depending on how you are feeling, break down your day into manageable chunks, things that will make you feel like you’ve actually DONE something, no matter how small. Just three things.
Need some tips on how to focus and set goals? We’ve got you.
Do something for somebody else
When we’re feeling down, it’s very easy to get stuck in our own heads and forget that there’s a whole world full of people around us, all with their own rainy days making their brains itch. And that’s okay – we can’t always be there for everybody else. But if you can, try to do one tiny thing for somebody else. Just one. It could be a total stranger, a teacher, a friend or a family member. Maybe you make some coffee for your mum, or you send your BFF a text telling them you think they’re amazing. You could pay for the person behind you in the Coles queue’s lunch snack or tell a stranger you think their outfit looks good. Doing good for others does you good, too: it gives you a better perspective on your own situation, improves your emotional wellbeing by giving you a sense of accomplishment, and makes you feel less isolated. It also improves your self-esteem! Basically, being kind to others gives us the warm and fuzzies. Perfect to deal with a rainy day.
Need some inspiration for acts of kindness? Click on the image below to download our Kindness Tips.
Wondering if you should start volunteering? Find out more here.
Now do something just for yourself
You’ve come this far today: you totally deserve to do something JUST for yourself! What do you like? Long showers? Hot chocolate? Hugs? Watching your fave series? Uploading a TikTok? Reward yourself for dealing with this rainy day by doing something that’s just for you.
PS: If you’re going to spend some time on TikTok, it might be worth it to check out the #mentalhealthawareness hashtag
– lots of people dealing with rainy days in often very inspiring ways.
Send out a bat signal
Sometimes, you just can’t beat the rainy-day blues. That’s okay, too – if you need to take the day as a time out, just doing nothing and being a couch burrito, do so, and don’t feel guilty about it.
But if you’re feeling alarmingly low and you want someone to reach out to you, but you don’t know how to get them to do so… Send out a bat signal. By which we mean: make sure that someone you trust (your bestie, parents, teachers, family member) knows what it means when you send a certain emoji, word or phrase to them via WhatsApp, TikTok, or on your socials. Someone who’ll drop everything when they see it and give you a call to check in on you.
This does mean making sure that you set up your “Bat Signal” system on days where you feel fine: decide who you trust, discuss the Bat Signal idea, choose your “signals” and then commit to each other to help.
Remember that you’re not alone, even when you feel like nobody else gets it. Reach out to any of the kind people at these mental health and wellbeing support services. They know what you’re going through, and they want to help:
Need some extra information, or know someone who could do with some support? Check out our downloadable and printable mental health resources below: