We will all go through periods of feeling mentally fragile. In July of 2019, I went through a period of seriously intense health anxiety. Which ended up with my nurse making an urgent doctors appointment for me for the very same day. It was bad. I got referred back to therapy. I was put on medication. It was a THING. So it’s safe to say, I was feeling mentally fragile. Like, China Doll fragile.

mentally fragile

I started on Citalopram which didn’t give me too many side effects. Apart from a DRY mouth that felt like I was living in the Nevada dessert. Citalopram ultimately changed my life and I shared my experience of anxiety medication here. I also signed up for a group worry management workshop. ME. The most awkwardly anxious person in the world voluntarily put myself forward for a workshop.

The workshop / group CBT turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. Despite the fact that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy doesn’t work for me (but please don’t let that put you off trying it if you need to, it’s hugely beneficial for so many people), I actually met one of my now best friends at that group therapy program!

I’m all for moving forward and trying new things to help with my mental health and well-being. But during that period, I was seriously feeling mentally fragile. I felt like at any moment, I was going to go over the speed bump which causes the chip in the glass to finally crack and shatter.

Which got me thinking how it’s okay not to feel strong mentally all the time. We all have times of feeling mentally fragile where we need to go extra easy on ourselves. That’s life. Shit happens. Some days are for smashing the goals and stepping outside of our comfort zones and others are simply for nurturing our bodies and minds and taking care.

So whether it’s a bad mental health day, a break up, an argument or something else, here are my 6 favourite coping techniques for those days we feel mentally fragile and need a little extra self love.

mentally fragile

Slow down – literally

This is something I’ve noticed I do more sub-consciously than anything else on those days where I’m feeling mentally fragile. But once I realize I’m doing it, I do it more. Because it really does help. And that’s slowing down and doing things with more intention. Like reaaaaaally slowing down.

I know this isn’t doable 100% of the time, depending on work or kids or pets or whatever. But when you can, just slow TF down. Stop multi-tasking. Stop rushing. Move your body slowly. Take time eating your dinner. And make every tiny task, even just making a cup of tea, the most important thing in the world.

Take care of your basic needs

Sometimes we think self care is this grand ol’ gesture but really, especially on days where you’re feeling mentally fragile, it’s the exact opposite. It’s the small stuff. The basic self care that needs taking care of the most. We can often jump straight to the manicures, the spa trips, the 8 mile runs…

but have you drank enough water today? Have you brushed your teeth? Have you eaten a small meal? Had a shower? Got some fresh air? Really, truly my love, take care of the basics first.

Meditation or gentle Yoga

Meditation and Yoga has got scientific backing and health benefits which are widely recognized. I know I sound like a broken record sometimes and you’re probably bored of me screaming at you to DO YOGA all the time but really…

…do some goddamn Yoga. Yoga is usually my first thought when I’m feeling mentally fragile. And I always opt for the restorative Yoga practices. The moving meditations. The nurturing practices which will help me slow down, reconnect and focus on my breath. Give it a go. Just once (if your body and/or mind allows of course).

Want some more Yoga content? Check out these posts:

Coping tips for when you feel mentally fragile continued:

Journal

When I suggest journaling, I never mean anything elaborate (unless that’s what you want to do). Bullet journals are great but in those moments where you’re feeling fragile, you just need to get your thoughts out. And that’s exactly what I do. I have a crappy £1 notebook from Tesco and I just write. And damn it’s therapeutic.

If you’re really struggling to collect your thoughts, here are 30 journal prompts for mental health.

No expectations

On the days you’re feeling mentally fragile, I think it’s so important to let all the expectations go. I’m often powering through a to-do list but some days, I just can’t manage it. And that’s okay. We can’t be “on it” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And it’s taken me a long ass time to come to terms with that.

Because let’s face it, you’re not going to perform at your best if you’re not feeling your best. If you can just about manage to brush your teeth, then how are you going to put your energy into writing, editing, formatting and promoting a blog post? If you can, great. But if not, it really doesn’t matter. No expectations.

Just do what you need to do when you feel mentally fragile

Ultimately, you just gotta do what you gotta do. We’re all different and these are just suggestions of things that have worked for me. Which hopefully might give you a helping hand if and when you need it. But on those days where we don’t know how we’re going to get through the next hour, let alone the day itself, you just gotta do you.

mentally fragile

If you’re feeling mentally fragile right now, please know that it’s okay. It will pass but for the time being, take care of yourself. Be gentle with your body and your mind. Do what feels right but be open to trying some new things to release any anxious energy. And of course, if you’re really struggling, please go and see your GP.

What do you do when you’re feeling mentally fragile? Let me know in the comments!

107 Comments

  1. When I’m feeling anxious, I journal. I write long streams lf consciousness that are judgement free. I explore the what, the whys the wheres and sit there with my feelings, acknowledge them, and leave them there.

  2. I love this post. Thank you for sharing your journey – i’m so glad you’re feeling better <3.
    I really want to start journalling but keep getting distracted. Meditation and yoga help me loads when i'm feeling extra fragile.. think it's really a case for making time for these little things which help so much.

    Fab post Jenny xx

  3. I can’t remember if I commented on this the first time around but I just stumbled back across it and oh my word I needed this today. Just the reminder to slow down, to not focus on the big stuff, is just a message I needed to hear. Thank you!

  4. Slowing down is so underrated. When I’m feeling overwhelmed I break my day right down, and concentrate entirely on what I’m going to spend the next 15 minutes doing – even if that is something as simple as watching tv. It stops me focusing on and worrying about the whole day looming ahead of me and keeps me centred in the present. It feels much less of a race if I’m only considering a short time period!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  5. These are really great tips! I really needed this and I feel like I really need to slow down more, it’s something that I don’t do nearly enough. Thanks for this!

  6. I need this post so much in my life! My mind had been in pieces for so many years now and even the simplest thing can be impossible. You know I’m feeling okay when I’m able to have a shower.

    Thank you for this! I hope more people can learn that it’s okay to be honest!

    Daisy xoxo

  7. I really find journaling helps. I used to scoff at the idea of journals when I was young because I was under the impressions you have to do it every day. Once I figured out I didn’t have to do that, that I could do it any time I wanted, it really helped. I also take comfort in talking to my friends, even if it’s just through Facebook Messenger. I also like to watch a favorite show or movie on days where I’m feeling mentally fragile or depressed; or if I have a lot of time (2 hours or so) play a video game. Both of those gives me a chance to escape for a little while and leave the problems causing me mental anguish behind; even if just for a bit.

  8. I’m glad you’re feeling better and the medication is working for you. I only really feel like this if I’ve been ill and have a huge workload to catch up on or if I have tight deadlines for something but I find having really clear to-do lists and scheduling helps me the most x

    Sophie

  9. These are all great techniques!! Mostly, it’s a mind game that I have to play on those anxious days. I have to stop those searching thoughts of “what next?” (because I’m the Queen of wanting to be time efficient) with “that’s not important right now.” Like you said – slow down. I have to permit myself to just do one thing at a time instead of my usual urge to multi-task (ie cook without cleaning up between stirring). It’s definitely helped prevent myself from making the anxiety worse.

  10. Love these. I got back into Yoga this morning after a week off due to low energy, and I have to say I am feeling so much better. Maybe what I needed all along was to do some yoga!

    Thank you for sharing Jenny.

  11. Thank you so much for talking about this! I’ve gone through some bad mental health times in my life, and I feel like people need to talk about these periods and what you can do to help yourself during these difficult times. I think the one I most relate to is “do what you gotta do.” Sometimes that all you really can do. Just get through the hour. The afternoon. The day. The night. The week. It’ll get better, but it just takes times. Your tips were great and so helpful!

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

  12. All great tips!! My go-to is journaling. I can write whatever I want! It can be nice, hateful, bitchy – just whatever. The other thing that I focus on is making myself happy. By this I mean, I learned to stop trying to please everyone else first. Thank you for sharing!!

  13. Amen to all of this, it’s all so true and so important. The ‘have you drank water today’ is such a tell tale sign that y o ure sleepwalking from minute to minute. Giant hug and take care and thank you X

  14. I’ve only recently learned the value of slowing down! It’s helped so much with stress and my PTSD. On a bad day, I take a bath, have a cup of tea and try to just let myself heal. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a hard time, and I’m glad things are getting better. I started sertaline two months ago and I also have a really dry mouth! All the best x

    1. It’s such an underrated thing to do, especially in a world where everything moves so fast and there’s always so much to do, all the time! Things are much better now, thank you! The dry mouth is the WORST! x

  15. Breathing exercises . . . that is what I did the last time I found myself going through bouts of fragility and it really helped.

    It is easy to stop doing what you are doing once you feel better. That is where you have to go on.

  16. I feel mentally fragile quite often. I tend to focus on the fact that it tends to be temporary, remember my achievements etc.. you know instead on focusing on the negative thoughts! I love your advice, I think we tend to forget our basic needs so often. It is super important to be aware of your needs. Thanks for your advice.
    Laura

  17. This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Taking care of my basic needs can be such a struggle when I’m feeling down/stressed/busy, sometimes I need to stop for a moment and make myself get out of bed & off my laptop to brush my teeth and shower, as gross as that sounds. Thank you for writing such an understanding & non-judgemental post about mental health – we need more posts like this x

  18. I can totally relate to slowing down and doing some gentle exercise. I try to do Pilates each day because it’s my replacement for taking an antidepressant when which made me feel nauseous and sick all the time. Also, it’s one more thing I can then cross off my list which makes me feel more accomplished. I usually work out at night and would like to start working out in the mornings. I too am emotionally fragile right now. As a way to counteract this I had to mute literally every IG account. It’s not perfect but the less I see, the better! (I still automatically click on the IG stories which can be triggering).

    One thing I would really like to do is put down is my phone. I find myself getting too caught up in it, mindlessly checking it, and constantly feeling the urge to check it when I’m supposed to be doing other things. If we could cut off the tech for a few hours a day and go for a walk or reconnect with nature, perhaps that would help with the anxiety.

  19. I love this! It’s so simple and doable which for me is key. Sometimes if a task feels too daunting then I likely won’t do it. Even if it’s something I want to do. I love how simple these are. I need to get better at slowing down!!

  20. Such a great post as these coping techniques are so simple but effective – sometimes it really is these things which can have such a massive impact on us mentally especially if we’re already in a rough place at the time. Love how open and honest you are about your mental health and your journey 💛 I was on Sertraline for about a year but earlier this year I decided to come off it (with the help of my doctor) – not to say I’m ‘cured’ or anything but I feel more stable and it really helped me, alongside simple acts of self care. Sending lots of love and positive energy your way Jenny! ✨

  21. Brilliant post, I really needed something like that. Unfortunately my baby is breeched, so I am scheduled for a C section in a couple of days. I`m really stressed about the situation, but I think I`ll try journaling and see how it goes.

  22. Sorry to hear you’ve been going through a hard time, Jenny. Something that helps me when things get rough is just breaking down and having an ugly cry. I don’t cry often but when I do, it’s Niagara falls up in here. It feels like all my sad emotions are just exiting my body with every tear, it’s pretty weird lol.

  23. Ooh, I love this post! I like that everything is small and manageable – though I’ve never tried yoga and have no idea where to start! My go-to when life’s getting me down is crochet. It’s been an absolute sanity saver these past few months.

  24. I can relate too hard with the health anxiety – I’ve spent all day literally thinking I have meningitis AND arthritis/osteoarthritis. These are lovely tips, I really need to just slow down and stop expecting so much from myself but it’s hard.

  25. I’ve been really fragile for a couple of weeks now, and I tried so hard to keep going, even while everything else was imploding to keep on writing blog posts and getting them out, and keeping up with engagement.
    Even when I know I need to slow down it’s super hard to do it until I crash and I’m so low I don’t, I can’t bring myself to, care anymore.

    I like to wrap myself in a fluffy blanket and lose myself inside familiar TV or movies. At the moment I’m going back through 10 years of Marvel films.

  26. I love this post! it is so helpful! I have not done yoga in so long, it’d be great to start again! Slowing down is so important. I always want to do so much at once but ended overwhelmed. Something else i have learnt is let go of things i can’t control, and it has helped so much

  27. You have no idea how much I needed to read this post today. It’s like you wrote it for me (how self-centred does that sound?). The last 6 weeks have been so full on. New job, still freelancing, school holidays, Flora then starting a new school, then having to nurse a senior pet to the end. I feel completely jangled. I absolutely LOVE the point about making a cup of tea the most important thing and slowing down. Thank you so much, Jenny xxx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    1. Not self centered at all! I’m so glad it came at the perfect time! I’m so sorry about your cat. I bet it’s been such a stressful time, especially with back to school as well as a new job. I hope you’ve got a bit of respite now things have settled down a bit. Enjoy that cup of tea! xxx

  28. Love the idea behind this. Sometimes you kind of just need to let a phase pass. It always helps to try and do the things that make you feel good, however, we also shouldn’t feel bad for just taking some time out!

    I think, for me personally, this is my bodies way of telling me to slow down and just have some time to myself.

    Hayley || hayleyxmartin

  29. This is a really great post. I’ve been feeling mentally fragile myself over the last week or so. I try and help myself by writing little list’s of things i want to complete that day and tick them off as i go. That way, i have something to focus on xxx

  30. I just wanted to say ‘well done’ for even posting this when you’ve been going through a hard time. I can definitely relate and sometimes the smallest thing is so difficult. So thank you for making the effort to encourage people and I hope you have brighter days and continue to grow stronger in your self care techniques – it’s a long road but it’s good to know there is support out there for us.

  31. Some really great tips here and I especially like the one about doing the small things when it comes to self care. It’s so important to realise that self care isn’t just getting your nails done or having a manicure, it can be literally something as small as brushing your teeth or making sure you eat breakfast. Thanks for sharing xxx

  32. Absolutely spot on! It’s those little and very simple things that make all the difference. And once we have recognised that we’re feeling fragile, it’s up to us to do those things … that’s the tough part. You’re absolutely right. Great post! Katie

  33. These are all things I try and focus on during the winter months with SAD (and Citalopram is what I take for it, which works a treat). The whole expectations thing was the hardest one for me to work on but helped the most – I put so much pressure on myself sometimes so relieving myself of that has made such a difference (which has extended into my non-SAD months, too)

  34. I love this. You are so right that some days it is just about making sure we have covered the most basic of needs.
    Going to the toilet is the one thing I just simply can’t bring myself to do at times.. fortunately or maybe not I don’t forget to drink so a full bladder with a reluctance to walk to the bathroom is not a great combination!

    I love the journal one as well, I am constantly writing something down, clearing my mind.

  35. This is such a brilliant post Jenny and a really important one! Sometimes we just need to slow down and get the basics back on track again before we tackle the bigger things. I love making to do lists with small and simple tasks so I still feel like I’ve achieved on days where I need to take it a bit slower. Thanks for posting this 🙂 x

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