Feeling down in the dumps hits everyone at some point or another. Feeling sad is part of life, but it should not consume your life. While acts of self-care such as long baths and meditation can certainly benefit your mood, you may not have access to these all of the time. You may need something more to get you out of your humdrum mood.
Crazed schedules, stressful meetings, and a seemingly never-ending pandemic are all reasons for feeling depressed. While you can’t control these aspects of life, you can reset your mindset about them. You can shift your perspective from what is going wrong to what is going right.
Obviously, this shift in perspective takes some work on your part. You can’t snap out of your feelings immediately. If you’re looking for some guidance, you’ve come to the right place. Below are three ways you can start taking care of yourself to begin feeling better.
1. Talk to Someone
Talking about how you are feeling is one way to express yourself and get out of your blues. It’s been shown that talking with someone can help you cope. It can help you figure out what you’re going through, even if it’s merely a feeling or mindset. It’s a way to feel less alone in a world that is often divided and preoccupied with social media.
You can start by talking with a close friend either in-person or over the phone. Seeing their face may provide some benefit, so consider meeting up with them or scheduling a Facetime or video call. Don’t feel pressured to talk about anything too uncomfortable. Simply talk about what’s going on and see if they can provide some reassurance.
If they’re a really good friend, they may even suggest thinking about mental health treatment. Treatment is more readily available today thanks to online evaluations and telehealth services. If you think you need some additional help than what a friend can provide, these services can be beneficial. They can prescribe appropriate treatments and medications to help with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
2. Create a Joy List
When was the last time you felt truly giddy over something? Was it going out for ice cream with your significant other after dinner? Or maybe it was taking a walk with a friend and just catching up? Or perhaps it was playing with your dog on the beach? Whatever it was, jot it down and use it as a start to your joy list.
A joy list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of items that make you joyful. They can be big or small. They can be expensive or free. The key is to make them accessible to you. So even if you were happiest when your partner proposed to you, that isn’t going to happen again. Make these items specific but realistic.
Keep this list in a place that will be most useful to you. It can be a note on your phone or a page in your journal. The next time you are feeling in a rut, look at it. What experience can you replicate and do today or sometime in the near future that will bring you joy? If it’s calling up a friend to schedule a walk, then do it.
3. Be Spontaneous
Sometimes you may be feeling down because you’re simply bored. You’re looking at the upcoming week or month and aren’t really excited about anything on your calendar. You’re feeling overwhelmed about work or home life. You’re feeling stuck in not being able to get something accomplished. The key to getting unstuck and out of boredom is to do something spontaneous.
Being spontaneous doesn’t mean you have to book a one-way plane ticket. Although that is certainly an option! Being spontaneous can simply be taking yourself out for lunch at a new cafe. It can be going on a walk that is different from your typical path. It can be finding a new recipe, gathering the ingredients, and cooking it for your family.
No matter what you decide to do, go into it with an open mind. And don’t overthink your decision. It isn’t helpful if you spend your spontaneous activity thinking about what you could have done differently or how your regular lunch spot has a bigger menu. If you’re up for it, invite a friend or family member to do your spontaneous event together. After all, doing something new with someone else can take the pressure off of it.
The next time you are feeling a bit down, think about these recommendations. Talking about your feelings, doing something joyful, and being spontaneous are all ways to reset your mindset. If you still feel a bit down, don’t judge yourself about it. Feelings take time to pass, so not feeling great automatically is to be expected.
If you’re feeling depressed often, seek out professional help. You should not feel embarrassed or ashamed about how you are feeling. Mental health should not be stigmatized. The more you are open about your feelings, the more likely you in turn will help someone else with theirs.