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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ball State chapter.

Disclaimer: There is mention of EDs. If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, click on the following
link. If you need medical attention call 911 or the suicide hotline immediately. 

Mental health is something that has become more prevalent each day. We are still finding out new facts and functions of our brains and its chemicals. When the term “mental health” is used, it usually refers to the overall state of mind, mental illnesses or struggles. Some of us deal with anxiety over day-to-day things, and some of us can’t get out of bed. Some days can be harder than others. 

Certain days could be considered a “bad day.” What do I mean by that? A “bad day,” by my definition, is when negative self-talk and thoughts come to the front of the mind, and they aren’t planned. For me, they appear out of thin air and knock me down a few pegs. Bad days make it feel like I’ve been running a 5k through syrup. The day after a bad day (I call it a recovery day) leaves me exhausted, teary-eyed, and slow. I’ve been looking for ways to make my recovery day more manageable. Here are some of my personal tips that have helped me recover from my bad days, hopefully, they can help you too!

Tip 1: Be gentle with yourself

You just went through a huge emotional event. Breathe. You survived and you are still here. You did it. You may feel like you have to accomplish so many things and the to-do list feels overwhelming, to say the least. That’s okay, you don’t have to eat the elephant in one bite. The key is to be kind to yourself and trying to do everything all at once isn’t going to help. 

Tip 2: Drink water, or any sort of fluid that’s non-caffeinated, and non-sugary.

Think about it. You just sobbed your heart out for hours and your body probably feels like a desert. Water clears away the icky nausea that could be sitting in your stomach. It will replenish the water you lost. Caffeine will only amp up the manic, anxious feeling, making you feel worse. I don’t know about you, but caffeine is nice on a good day. On bad days though, it makes my anxiety feel like I’m on an off-kilter rollercoaster. I do love some strong coffee, but I know that when I’m drinking it, I have to have limits. 

Tip 3: Get a cool washcloth and wipe your face and lower neck

This tip is one of my favorites. Whenever I finish crying, my body feels like it’s a thousand degrees and I don’t like how tear streaks feel on my face. Trying to take a shower or bath sometimes seems like so much work. However, hygiene is important, and wiping away old tear stains definitely counts. Imagine when you are gently wiping your face, you are clearing away the tears and the old from yesterday. Use this as your way to start fresh. 

Tip 4: Fill your stomach with nutrients.

**Potential trigger warning for EDs**

I have a very difficult time having an appetite when I get super anxious or stressed out. I know there are people out there who feel the same way.  There are extremes of the eating habit spectrum that eventually lead to creating self-image issues, or even lead to eating disorders. 

Your body’s ability to feel hunger is like an alert system. This alert system has a hormone called Ghrelin that tells your brain when you’re hungry. Like all systems, there can be a need for maintenance or re-working. That is okay! Accept that your body may not always function perfectly and that you can fix it. Realize that it is okay to ask for help if you don’t know what is going on or if you have questions. It is important to listen to your body and give it what it needs. 

If you struggle with giving your body the nutrients it needs, I usually ask myself these questions:

  • What is the source of my stress? 

Is it my school load? Is it my job? Is it my relationships? Having a clear idea of what is stressing myself out helps me figure out my next steps. 

  • What can I control? 

I don’t focus on what I can’t control. That doesn’t help and it increases a feeling of helplessness for me. Instead, I focus on what I CAN control. I make a plan for the day/week or a to-do list. Sometimes I go for a walk or talk to someone who I trust to get advice. 

  • Did I drink enough water? 

If the answer is no, I go get a glass of water ASAP. If the answer is yes, then fantastic!

  • Have I eaten in the last two hours? 

If the answer is no, I grab something to munch on. Foods with a lot of flavor may not be the best option, but I like to eat an apple or banana. They give me nutrients; they’re something I can just grab and eat. I know my body will thank me and I won’t feel like you’re about to pass out. If you are actually hungry though, it’s best to eat something. The feeling of hunger is your body’s alert system saying you need something to give it energy. If stress is taking a hold of you, acknowledge it and do something else like journaling. Eating when you’re not hungry isn’t good because your hunger cues can be off or are being ignored. 

I don’t have the answers to everything. When it comes to mental and physical health, it’s different for everyone. What is most important is that you listen to your body. It is important to treat yourself with kindness even when you don’t think you deserve it.  You only get one body and one mind. Please treat them well.  I’ve found these tips helpful with managing my anxiety and I hope that you try a couple of them out to help your body recover from bad days too.

Layla Jones

Ball State '26

I am a second year student at Ball State studying PR and I write for lifestyles or just any section! I love to listen to music, draw, and read. Currently working on a brand with my partner called Antagonized Underground and it’s awesome.