There are some days you just feel down. Sometimes you know why: a fight with a friend or spouse, financial troubles, difficulty with your kids. Other times a low mood can come out of nowhere.
But however or whenever these blue days come, it can make the entire day seem like one big long struggle to get through.
You may find yourself watching the clock, just hoping to get done with work or school, or waiting for your kids to go to bed, or waiting for your partner to come home. Time seems to drag on and on. Your energy may be lagging. It’s not depression as much as just feeling out of sorts.
There are countless ways to break out of that blue space. We’ve chosen 10 of our favorites.
The next time you have difficulty getting out of bed or you feel blah and low, try a couple of them out. We’d love to hear what you think.
- Reach out. When you feel low, it can seem like no one cares. That’s not necessarily true. When you feel out of sorts, it can change how you perceive others in your life. Take a moment to reach out to two or three people. Walk over to a coworker and ask how his weekend was. Call your sister up. Even say hello to the cashier at the grocery store. When you interact with people, you will feel less alone and less down.
- Take stock of your life. By this we mean think through what is going right and what you want to do differently. Think about positive relationships in your life. Make plans to take a class or trip. Allow yourself to dream about the future. When something negative comes to mind, acknowledge it and move on to something more positive.
- Do something good for your body. This could be eating a healthy meal, doing a few minutes of yoga, taking a walk or run, riding your bike, or drinking some water. Getting a massage is also a good option. Also see #9.
- Express yourself. Write a journal entry or a poem. Sketch. Paint. Color in a coloring book. Dance. Write a song. Sing a song! Allow your emotions and feelings to come out in any way you wish. Keep it private if you wish, or share it. Be silly or serious. Just be real and be yourself.
- Distraction. Sometimes one of the best things you can do to get out of a bad mood is to get involved in something that takes all of your attention. Go to a movie. Research the strange trend of coloring dogs. Find the answer to a question that’s always bothered you.
- Get outside. Being out in the air and sun/rain/snow/fog has an energizing effect. Try and use all your senses to experience where you are. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste?
- Take a shower or a bath. There is something about being clean that feels amazing. Take a long shower and enjoy how the water feels on your skin and how the soap smells. Stay in until your fingers get wrinkly if you want. If you’re a parent and have small kids around, this might need to wait until someone else can watch the kids. Having to hop out of the bath every 2 minutes to break up a fight or get a glass of milk is not relaxing.
- Fake a laugh. This is especially effective when doing it alongside children. In most cases, faking a laugh will turn into a true laugh. If this is too difficult, find a comedian on YouTube and laugh for real.
- Stretch for 3 minutes. Starting at your toes, slowly stretch every part of your body, working up towards your head. Take deep breaths. Enjoy the sensation of your body tensing and relaxing. Appreciate your skin and muscles and bones.
- Remember the last time you felt wonderful. Close your eyes and think about the last time you felt great. Where were you? Who was with you? What were you doing? Put as much detail into your memory as you can, including what you felt, tasted, heard, smelled, and saw. Take a few minutes to enjoy that memory.
Everyone feels down now and then, but you don’t have to stay feeling blue. Sometimes the first thing you try may work perfectly; other times it may take 3 or 4 things to begin to feel better.
If your low mood continues past a couple of days, it may be time to contact your physician to rule out a more serious illness like hypothyroidism, depression or dysthymia.