Mental Health Survival Kit #2 – Nail Varnish

We all have days when our mental health isn’t great. Maybe we are stuck somewhere on our own allowing our irrational thoughts unimpeded access to our brains or we’re facing some other personal challenges which just make everything that little bit harder. On days like these I find it is useful to have a few ideas to fall back on, to help alleviate distress and provide a distraction from the running commentary in my brain. Over a series of posts I am going to introduce you all to a few of these ideas which collectively form a kind of mental health survival kit ready for use at any time.

Ok, so the second item in my mental health kit may seem pretty frivolous, I mean painted nails are hardly going to help someone experiencing the lowest of mental health days but, bare with me here. For me nail varnish fulfils some of the essential parts of mental health care – many of which are easy to forget when your thoughts are overwhelming. Painting my nails encourages me to take some time to myself as I paint them and prevents me from undertaking more destructive behaviours as I wait for them to dry. The act of carefully painting each nail also helps to centre my thoughts, helping me to sit with and distance myself from unhelpful emotions, and letting them pass.  Finally the act of choosing a nice colour and wearing it for a few days (until it starts to chip) is the ultimate act of self care, reminding me that, despite what my thoughts are telling me, I do deserve nice things.

Here’s a run down of three of my favourite nail varnishes…


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OPI A Good Man-darin is Hard to Find £12.99

This is definitely the most expensive nail varnish I’ve listed here but trust me it is worth it. I bought a bottle of this at least 4 years ago and its still going strong. It is the perfect combination of orange and red which makes you look tanned even in the middle of winter and looks classic without seeming boring. Put this on whenever you need a bit of a confidence boost.

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Rimmel London Bee a Honey £2.99

I have been looking for a yellow nail polish for quite some time and while I’m not fully convinced that this is the one – it’s pretty close. It needs a couple of coats to get full coverage but once its applied it stays on well and is bound to cheer up a grey and dreary morning.

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Maybeline Spot Light £2.99

Nothing says f*** you to your mental disorder like black nail polish and this one has the added benefit of containing glitter. Using this will make your nails look like a clear nights sky and its unusual appearance is bound to get you a lot of compliments, perfect if your self esteem needs a bit of a boost.

Have you got any nail varnish recommendations? I’m always on the look out for new colours. What are your favourite makes?


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