Everyone has days when they’re feeling down. But sometimes a down day can linger into the next and the next. And when your mood is consistently low, it can be difficult to pick yourself back up again.
If you’ve been struggling to lift your mood, you may be worried about how long it’s going to last. Thankfully, there are some things you can do that might be the boost you’ve been looking for. With this in mind, here are five things to try when your blues won’t budge.
1. Get Appropriate Help, If Necessary
First and foremost, it’s important to get help if you need it. Because it’s one thing to go through a rough patch. It’s another to have that rough patch linger and transform into feelings of despair.
When left untreated, depression and anxiety can develop and significantly impact your ability to enjoy life. So it’s crucial to be honest about how you’ve been feeling and seek professional help if necessary. Good therapy can help you discover and address the root of whatever has been bothering you. Sometimes, however, lingering blues can be the result of a chemical imbalance. Addressing such an imbalance requires a different kind of help.
Your body needs the right amount of serotonin to function properly, and a lack of serotonin may result in depressive feelings. In that case, your blues may simply be symptomatic of this underlying cause. If deemed appropriate, you can get mental health medication online that can help restore the balance of serotonin in your body.
2. Get Moving
Sometimes changing the way you feel is as simple as taking a walk. A sedentary lifestyle has been shown to have a strong connection to depressive symptoms. Conversely, moving and exercising can actually boost your mood.
Unfortunately, the modern world rarely encourages you to get physical. From cars to computer desks to at-home grocery delivery, the world increasingly encourages you to sit down. It may take energy of its own, but it’s important to make sure you’re moving around at least a bit every day.
Moving more might mean finally going to the gym and exercising. Or it might be as simple as walking or biking to work instead of driving. You could develop a stretching routine to help you wake up in the morning. Or you could go on a walk in the evening instead of streaming another show. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing as long as it helps you spend less time sitting and you move instead.
3. Get Outside
Just like the modern world doesn’t often encourage a very active lifestyle, it also doesn’t often encourage you to go outside. With urbanization on the rise, people are spending less and less time in nature. This might not seem like a big deal since cities often have some of the most exciting things to do. But there is a strong correlation between spending time in nature and feelings of health and wellness.
Sending just two hours a week in nature can significantly increase your overall well-being. You may experience more feelings of calmness, increased capacity for concentration, and reduced irritability and anxiety. Spending time in nature can even increase dopamine and serotonin while decreasing cortisol production.
For some, getting outdoors more often can be as simple as walking out the front door. For others who live in dense urban areas, you may need to be more intentional about planning trips to nature. Research the parks, woods, lakes, and other natural environments in your area. Travel to them if necessary. Just two hours a week is all you need for nature to work its magic.
4. Get Giddy
When was the last time you laughed? Not just a smirk or a slight exhale from the nose, but a deep-bellied, tear-filled laugh? If you can’t think of an answer, it might be time for a hearty guffaw.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and there’s a reason. When you laugh, you intake more oxygen-rich air, which is essential for numerous parts of your body to function properly. It also stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, increasing the endorphins released by your brain. And besides the physiological benefits, laughing also changes the focus of your mind.
When you’re feeling down, laughing may feel close to impossible. But thankfully, you don’t have to do the work. Put on your favorite comedy and let movie magic do it for you. Or visit a comedy club and join the chorus of laughter that erupts after each joke. The most important thing when it comes to laughing is to let yourself off the hook and just enjoy it.
5. Get Giving
When you’re feeling down, it’s common to spend a lot of time thinking about yourself. It makes sense: you want to feel better so you focus on your current state of mind. But self-awareness can be a double-edged sword. Spending too much time thinking about yourself can actually exacerbate the problem. So rather than ruminate on your feelings, get out of them by focusing on someone else.
It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one feeling bad in the world. And there are many people who have it much worse off than you do. This isn’t to detract from your feelings, but rather to contextualize them. Volunteering your time and giving it to others is one of the best ways to shake up your mind with some perspective.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to volunteer. It only takes a quick online search to find an opportunity that suits your skills. You can work in soup kitchens, help clean up trash on the street, tutor low-income students after school — the list goes on. So give out a little kindness if you’ve been stuck in your head for too long.
When you’re stuck in a depressive mood, it can be hard to remember what joy feels like. Happy memories grow blurry with distance in the rear-view mirror. And while not everything is going to shake your blues, the important thing is to just get going.
It’s true that it does take effort to lift your spirits. And it’s true that the first few things you try may not help. But the more things you try, the greater the chance you’ll find something that does. Whether it’s something on this list or something else entirely, keep at it. And, who knows — you may be surprised by how quickly you can break your blues.