We've all been there. For some of us, we've been there longer than others. That low or bad mood that we just can't seem to shake. The nagging thought of "how do I get out of this right now?" could be making you feel even more anxious.
Of course, we all know that good hygiene, getting enough sleep, staying active, and other factors can help us feel better. But what about ideas that we might not have considered?
We hope that this article helps you find ways to pump the bad-mood brakes so you can get back to living your life the way you want to.
1. Consider What You're Consuming
Did you know that good mental health can help you stay healthy and make better decisions? In contrast, poor mental health might lead to poor physical health or harmful behavior. This is called the mind-body connection. Let's look at what we're putting into our minds and bodies daily to see what we might want to eliminate.
Our funk-filled lives feel worlds away from smiling faces, tropical vacations, and high-income living as we scroll through social media. If we weren't in a funk before—we sure are in one now.
It isn't easy to keep reminding ourselves that everything we see on social media is carefully curated by those who post it. People aren't sharing their difficult days, overdue bills, or alcohol-related struggles. It's even possible that they've digitally altered the photographs. With a swipe of a brush, anyone can get the perfect body or hairline.
This is a gentle reminder to put your comparisons aside. Remind yourself of the reality whenever those thoughts arise. Take a vacation away from social media. We're not giving self-deprecating thoughts a home today (or any other day).
We've all known someone who is perpetually pessimistic. Perhaps it's not so much a negative thinker as someone who makes you feel bad about yourself and your attitude on life. Or that annoying person that grates on our last nerve. Think of ways to avoid interacting with people who might make you feel worse in any of these scenarios. You don't have to deal with someone's annoying behavior, especially if their actions intensify your low mood.
When we feel down, healthy cooking isn't at the top of our list. We throw together potato chip dinners or hit the drive-thru, which may not be the best choices. But, even though boiling water for ramen noodles seems to be a tremendous task, we'll get through it.
Although we can all agree that different foods contain more nutrients, there is no good or bad food. All food will nourish the body because it is fuel. Don't be too hard on yourself; you've made it this far, and even if you don't believe it, you've been doing a great job.
Here are ten suggestions to help you eat through the slump. They're not just enjoyable for adults, but they're also great for children if you're making meals and snacks for them.
1. Apples and peanut butter
2. Breakfast (for dinner)
3. Cheese quesadilla
5. Egg and cheese sandwich
6. Grilled cheese and tomato soup
9. Rotisserie chicken
10. Sheet pan meals
And two ways to stretch those meals even further:
1. Rotisserie chicken can be served with rice and vegetables, added to a bagged salad, or cooked into a cheese quesadilla.
2. Chili can be served with crackers, on top of a baked potato, in a cheese quesadilla, or mixed into macaroni and cheese to make chili mac.
Please keep in mind that this mood will pass, but until then, we'll be as gentle with ourselves as we can. We're fueling our bodies until we're ready to start cooking with joy again.
For more information on eating well: How Nutrition Affects Mental Health
Have you been drinking more than usual or turning to alcohol to help yourself feel better? While alcohol may temporarily improve your mood, it's also a depressant and may have a negative impact on your mood for days later.
According to "Stress and Alcohol: Epidemiologic Evidence," various studies have found that many general life stressors and alcohol problems are associated with alcohol consumption.
Additionally, if you had too much to drink the night before, rather than spending the whole day in bed hungover, consider taking medication and consuming foods that will help you recover. Staying in bed can further affect your mental state.
2. Put Yourself First
Most of us are known for putting others before ourselves, and although it's an admirable quality, when was the last time we truly supported ourselves?
It may take some getting used to, but we're simply taking care of ourselves and placing ourselves first on the list rather than last. Please give it your all, no matter how difficult it may seem. Remember, when you have nothing left to give, you cannot help yourself or anyone else.
We're busy and committed to helping others. Our overflowing schedules leave no place for us. It's no surprise that we get trapped in an emotional rut. We frequently ask about others' well-being, but when was the last time you asked about your own?
Consider asking the person in the mirror, "How can I help YOU today?"
Whatever answer you receive will be what you most need at that moment. Maybe you just need a hug, some grace, some alone time. Whatever that is—give it to yourself. You are worth it.
3. Find Your Zen With Meditation
Wait—before you click away or shake your head, give us a chance to explain ourselves. We were in the same boat as you, unable to focus, let alone meditate. With a few tips, you'll be on your way to finding your zen in no time.
Below is an account from an individual who struggled with meditating over two minutes and how changing up a few things was all it took.
I knew the benefits of meditation were vast, but I just couldn't quiet my racing mind. Listening to sound bowls with wafting incense didn't cure me. Finding my rhythm did. This is the exact method that worked for me to begin and continue a vibrant meditation practice.
• I meditate in my bedroom, which is the quietest room in my home. I darken the room, close the curtains, and meditate by candlelight.
• I'm an incense lover, but if you're not, forego it. I light my favorite scent and begin to prepare all of my senses for relaxation.
• Instead of sitting, I lay down on the floor as this position feels like a body realignment to me.
• I use a pillow beneath my head and a light blanket over my body. I do this because when I'm uncomfortable or cold, I can no longer concentrate.
• I immediately found that I required guided meditation to help me focus on letting go during my early two-minute failures. I relied on individuals who could guide me to a meditative state. Jason Stephenson and Jess Shepherd are two people I highly recommend. I would have failed the first week of my meditation journey if it hadn't been for them.
I am happy to report that I have been meditating nearly every day and have done so faithfully for eight years. Some days, I'll meditate for 20 minutes, while others, up to two hours. Find what works for you and try to stick to it. Nothing has helped my outlook on life the way meditation has.
Those who meditate don't need research to prove its benefits, although science backs up the claims. Meditation has stood the test of time, and good news—it's still standing.
For more information on meditation: How Meditation Can Improve Your Health and Meditation for Improved Quality of Life
4. Check Your Overfilled Plate
You're in a funk, and it may be because you're overtaxed and over your limit. Maybe it's time to start setting boundaries and being selective. If there are too many withdrawals and not enough deposits, you'll be in a deficit. And if you wear too many hats, there's a good chance you don't wear any of them very well.
Are your days predefined to ensure others' schedules run smoothly while you run yourself ragged? You have the keys to rid yourself of the ideals that you may have set in place for yourself. You cannot do it all, nor should you have to.
Your proverbial plate can only hold so much. You cannot be all things to everyone and everything. Each time you say yes to something, you say no to something else. Saying yes to that weekend event you don't want to go to could mean saying no to the time you want to spend with your family. Saying no doesn't make you a bad person. However, saying yes all the time can overwhelm you.
During this time, you might want to decline anything that adds to your to-do list. You're using your time and emotional resources wisely—to rise out of the low mood and prepare for better days ahead.
Getting Your Bliss Back
When you're feeling down, or on any day, self-care is essential. Additionally, take a moment to evaluate what might be contributing to this rough patch.
Sometimes we've tried it all, and emotional de-cluttering isn't always enough. If you suspect you're in more than a bad mood, the next step is to get support. It takes guts to seek help, and telling someone you're having trouble is the first step toward feeling better.
For ways to stay balanced this holiday season: Mental Health Around the Holidays