Everyone can feel a little down from time to time, or even sink into depression. Medical advice is needed for depression, if you are not sure if you are depressed then my advice is to visit your GP.
There are things we can do to help us feel better, even for those diagnosed with depression. Often it can be a vicious circle, if we do not feel good, our motivation is not going to be as strong, so some may feel bad about their lack of action to try to feel better. Sometimes, people have to really push themselves initially.
Simple factors like drinking lots of fluids can help. Water is best, but some struggle to drink lots of water. We make our own drink and keep it in the fridge in a large jug; we use a small amount of sugar-free cordial, fresh juice and then top it up with sparkling water and add sliced lemons. That way we always have a healthy tasty drink ready to keep us hydrated. Dehydration can lead to low mood, as well as the other risks to our health.
Everyone knows that healthy eating is what we ‘should’ be doing for many reasons. Healthy eating will help improve our mood as well as the many other benefits of eating healthy. Often if you feel low, being organised and shopping, planning healthy meals and maybe even budgeting can feel real difficult. It is important not to be to harsh on yourself if you are cutting corners, if you manage some small steps in the right direction as often as possible, it is better than nothing. If your low mood is connected with finances, then there are some good ways to eat healthy on a budget, I will add some recipes and tips at the bottom of this blog.
Sleep is also a very important factor in balancing our moods. Sometimes sleep can be difficult in times of stress, but the more balance you can get in other areas of your life, the easier it will be for you to sleep.
Exercise is also well documented to help improve mood and it really does work. I have a dog who is full of energy who needs regular walks, and I am sure he helps me get through difficult times, due to the exercise, as well as his unconditional love of course. I challenge anyone reading this to try it and see for yourself. Just a brisk 20 minute walk can really make a difference. Or you could ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and give the house a good clean and de-clutter, the exercise and order will give a boost to your mood.
If you feel that these goals and actions are not in your capabilities just yet, please do not be hard on yourself as self talk could be one of the biggest factors in your mood. My advice is to accept how you feel, without being self-critical and nurture yourself. Then you will at some point feel ready to start taking some positive steps hopefully. If you beat yourself up with negative self talk for not taking any steps, it is unlikely you will be feeling well enough at any point soon, to start making any positive changes.
Be your own best friend, rather than your own worst enemy. In my opinion that is VITAL.
Try and mix with healthy, positive individuals who are positive towards you. Once you start taking some of these steps, try to keep pushing forward and maybe do something you have never done before, joining a new class, or group, or hobby? Pushing past our comfort zones is something I believe to be important, otherwise we can be at risk of feeling stagnant and stuck in a rut.
Do not compare to others because even if they are enjoying a good phase in life, you can guarantee they have faced difficulties and may do so again at some point, as we all do. There is more on ‘magical thinking’ in my first blog….’and I am feeling good’…..
If you are not ready to take steps today, then spend some time loving and nurturing yourself, resting, relaxing and telling yourself you are ok to do so. Maybe then you will start to feel a little better, and begin to take some steps forward soon.
If you are experiencing isolation, please do get in touch, as I am hoping to find a way to help people connect, maybe you could help me set up some form of peer support or you may have some ideas on what support could help?
Volunteering is a great way to feel better. Sometimes seeing vulnerable people and sensing their pain, can help us realise that others suffer also and in helping them, it will help you. It is a great way to keep an open heart in difficult times, rather than harden up and shut off, isolating yourself.
Sometimes, some people may have deep-rooted beliefs that they are ‘not good enough’ or ‘a failure’ or ‘not a nice person’ …..the list could go on and on. None of those things are ever true. If you have qualities you do not like then you also have the power to work on them and make changes and new choices. We all have negative qualities, we just have to focus on our better qualities and put more investment into enhancing them. Often the mistake people make when they have stress or worries or hurt to deal with, is to sit and focus on the hurt/stress and procrastinate or risk getting stuck in self pity. If there is stress in your life, try and prioritise your routine, drink fluids, eat well, rest and work on your ‘self talk’. Try and set times when you will sit and problem solve, or face difficult feelings, rather than allowing issues to consume your life.
My experience in working with addiction leaves me with concrete beliefs that substances like drugs and alcohol, eating for comfort or shopping, gambling etc; will not help you feel better, but worse. It may temporarily block out circumstances, or briefly lift your mood, but once the effects wear off, you are more than likely going to feel worse than before, with less motivation to make positive changes and the urge to depend on something for a ‘quick fix’, could lead you dangerously close to a cycle of addiction. Even two large glasses of wine each evening, will be enough to leave you with low mood and anxiety the following day and risk worsening any episodes of depression.
For more tips and advice try: http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/
Thoughts and opinions are my own, to offer a general sense of personal development topics and insights into available support.
For support in the Uk:
Potato and leek soup :P….: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/6887/easy-peasy-leek-and-potato-soup.aspx
Make use of your freezer also, it is great to store fruit for smoothies and many other ways to store and keep your food fresh
Take care of yourself, seek help if need be, it is the best way to start moving forward.