Low Mood - The key is in the balance!
We’ve all had those days, everything seems like an effort, even the things we’d usually enjoy, seem to be just too much. More often than not though, those days will pass, we’ll grab some of our favourite food, head to see a friend or get a good night’s sleep and there we have it – back to our good old selves!
Sometimes however, those 1 or 2 days can turn into weeks and so it’s important for us to understand low mood and fundamental that we learn to recognize the signs for when and if we are experiencing low mood.
What to look out for…
Losing an interest in activities that we would once very much enjoy, for example, a sport, seeing a friend or going out for dinner. A change in appetite. A continuous lack of energy or a change in your sleeping pattern and duration. Feeling upset or sad. Feeling flat or numb and a difficulty in your concentration or focus. These are all symptoms of low mood.
So, what can we do and how do we do it?
Stay connected! It’s so, so important to speak with people, whether that’s in person, online, via text or even voice notes. There’s a whole array of things that we can do to keep connected, and they really don’t have to overtax us.
Being connected with others gives a natural boost of energy, whilst helping with any feelings of loneliness. Nobody is suggesting talking with someone for hours on end about the way you may be feeling but simply catching up with someone via a few messages or a silly meme could well put the smile on your face, you’ve been waiting for.
Low mood is a sign that it’s time to reintroduce some self-care and a routine! Both will help enormously and it’s likely you’ll begin to see some positive changes soon after.
Its important to keep a good balance of things to keep us active but not too active… things that give us a sense of pleasure and nourishment but also, things that keep us feeling that we are achieving or mastering something important. On a bad day, low on energy, simply getting out of bed, brushing our teeth, getting in the shower… these small simple things can all give us that sense of mastery. It doesn’t have to be ticking off everything on your to-do list! It’s just a little bit of routine and a little sense of mastery!
The key here though… is keeping that balance! A balance between pleasurable activities and masterful activities. Remember also, to adjust your expectations. When we think about the pleasurable activities, those activities don’t have to bring us 100% pleasure, they don’t have to give us the same pleasure they used to, as long as we’re still doing it… it will keep us ticking over, instead of getting into a vicious cycle of low mood, where we end up seeing withdrawal and our mood lowering even further.
Finally, and importantly, check in with yourself! Check-in with how you’re feeling regularly. See if there is anything you may be overdoing, on the flipside, see if there is anything you are underdoing. A really good way of doing this, is to write those feelings down. At the end of each evening jot down any thoughts on your mind, try and elaborate on how you are feeling physically as well as emotionally. Then use these notes as a prompt to think about the things that you could incorporate into the following day to look after yourself that little bit more!