The other day, I’d been in a low mood, hence the “when I’m low” post before this one. But I’ve worked hard to get myself out of that low mood. As a seasoned person with anxiety and depression, I’m used to low moods. But that also means I’ve gathered tools to get myself out of them…
The first thing I say to anyone who comes to me feeling anxious or low is to simply breathe. There’s nothing better than taking a moment to stop, halt the thoughts, and consciously breathe. Just taking 3 deep breaths helps you to focus again and get yourself out of that toxic loop of thoughts.
The next thing you need to do is get up. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or midday or whatever, you need to get up. Get out of bed, get off the sofa, get up out of the office chair, whatever. Just get up; force yourself to do that simple but important task.
Scrap the to-dos and write a “done” list
This one works better later in the day, but if you’re like me and you have set to-dos for each day, you will need to scrap them when you’re in a low mood. The to-dos will only serve as a reminder that you are being unproductive and aren’t doing what you set out to. Therefore, get rid of that sheet that’s making you feel worse. Instead, write down whatever you have done today. I got up. I read a bit. I showered. I ate. I started my work. Anything. Just write it down and realise that you’ve done things today even if they’re not the “right” things. And keep adding to the list as your day goes on. Soon, your productivity will come back to you and you’ll stop feeling so low.
Get out that space
Whatever space you’ve been in whilst the low mood has festered, get up out of it. Move. Preferably, go outside. Getting out in the fresh air and taking a break or going for a healthy walk or jog will do wonders in resetting your mindset. When we sit and fester in toxic waters, we have only ourselves to blame for our low mood and ill feelings.
Do something fun
Because duh, fun things lift our moods. Whatever is fun for you, do it. Do it because you have to. Do it for you. Do it unapologetically and say “this is okay, I need this right now.”
Remeber that you’re okay. It’s not a bad life or bad week, it’s just a bad hour or bad day. There’s always tomorrow. And remind yourself that you’re pretty awesome. Remind yourself of how hard you work. Remind yourself of your achievements. Show some gratitude towards all the things you’ve been blessed with, and hold that dear. It’s not a bad life.
I watch YouTubers or read good books or listen to podcasts to find my inspiration. They will say things that lift my mood and get me motivated again, even if only a little. That little bit could be what helps you complete a task, so actively find that motivation and inspiration; then, let it fill you.
Better still, have these things readily available for such occasions as this. I have a book full of happy things that will lift my mood. I have YouTube videos in my “watch later” list so I can easily watch what I know is good for me without being distracted by other videos.
Put good things into your body
Try your best not to give in to the cravings for junk food. Most of us love those unhealthy snacks when we’re in a low mood. I don’t blame you, I’m the same. But try to resist because the food will have the opposite effect. I won’t make you feel better, it’ll make you feel worse.
Instead, opt for your favourite fruit. Or have your favourite hot beverage. This way, you’re having something tasty but in a slightly healthier way. I settle cravings with coffee for now, a healthier alternative until the cravings subside.
Another great thing to do is find some people. Don’t sit alone. If you’re feeling low, get up and go to the shops to be around people. Go to a coffeeshop. Sit with your partner or sister or mom. Go for a walk in the park. Call someone. Or at a lack of all these options, at least have voices around you. These could be TV characters (ideally a show you like), a podcast, music, or YouTube. The voices, the conversations, the laughter (potentially), or the insight will really help.
When we’re in quiet and we’re alone, our thoughts are louder. It’s okay that they’re there, that’s natural, but we needn’t listen to them. So drown them out with other people and healthier voices.
Correct the lingo
If you’re anything like me, when you’re in a low mood you spend your time beating yourself up. You’re this and that and a failure, right?
You’re only human. Even the best people have bad days. Oprah has bad days. Beyoncé has bad days. J. K. Rowling has bad days. They’re human and so are you. You’re allowed to have a day when not everything goes to plan. Stop beating yourself up about it, because that only makes it worse and will probably cause your bad day to seep into a bad week.
Instead, correct the lingo. Say, “I’m having one of those days and that’s okay. Instead of doing this and that, I will instead try to do at least one of those things and be proud of myself for it.” See? Better!
Force it, Fix it
The biggest thing to do when you’re in a low mood is to recognise it, pause it, ask yourself why, tackle that why, then force a shift. It will take force, because low moods are pretty stubborn. But force some changes or movements or little things that you can do to be productive even if they’re not the “right” things to do. Like spending the day reading instead of working is okay. At least reading is a healthy, productive activity, even if it’s not particularly what you should be doing. Get it? Journalling freely is the best way to see how you’re feeling and why, and then fix it, too.
Good luck. I’m sorry you’re in this low mood, but I promise you that it won’t last, just like mine didn’t. Take care.
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.
If you want to hire me to write about mental health (or other), then don’t hesitate to get in touch!