We’ve all had bad days and sad days, and while it’s tempting to crawl under a blanket and stay there when you’re feeling low, that doesn’t really help. We know from experience that these tips will.
1. Don’t blame yourself
You’re down. It happens. It’s not your fault, you’re not a bad person, and telling yourself to snap out of it won’t make your mood lift.
2. Don’t listen to your own bullshit
Low moods are just great at framing everything in the worst possible light: Sarah hasn’t replied to your text? Well, Sarah clearly hates you and everybody hates you and… you know how it goes. Catch these thoughts and reframe them with less dramatic – and more likely – explanations.
3. Remember that you haven’t always felt like this
You’ve felt better before and you’ll feel better again. In his superb bookReasons To Stay Alive, Matt Haig says that you’re the sky and the sadness is a cloud. It can’t exist without you, but you can live just fine without it.
4. Give yourself realistic challenges
Is a big job, project or prospect freaking you out? Break it down into small chunks and attack it one chunk at a time. That chunk might be writing a page, clearing up one room, doing a single DIY task… it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can do it, and that you reward yourself when you’ve done it. That reward could just be a sense of achievement, or it could be something fun.
5. Get out
The single best thing you can do for your mood is to get up and get some exercise. That needn’t mean a full-on workout: a few blocks with the dog or a walk to the library is just as effective.
6. Reach out
Misery may love company, but low moods would much rather you stayed at home, alone. Catching up with friends or acquaintances – ideally in real life, but online can work too – is a great way to lift your mood.
7. Chill out
Relaxation can do wonders for your mood (Picture: Getty)
Do something nice for yourself. For some that’s a hot bath, for others it’s listening to whispering ASMR videos on YouTube, playing guitar badly or standing on a milk crate hollering along to Muse records.
8. Don’t drink too much
Booze is a depressant, so it’s likely to make you feel worse rather than better. It plays merry hell with your sleep, too, which can have an effect on your physical and mental well-being. Drugs aren’t a great idea either.
9. Eat properly and drink water
Comfort eating won’t help – feelings of guilt and the post-carb crash just pile on the misery as well as the pounds – but neither will skipping meals, or eating fast food because you can’t be bothered to cook. Dehydration will make you feel worse too.
10. Know the difference between feeling down and depression
Feeling down is completely normal: it’s the rain we have to put up with in between the sunshine-y bits of life. But if you’re constantly feeling down, irritable or not really feeling anything, that could be depression – and that’s something you can and should get help with. Speak to your GP and check out the NHS’s list of helpful websites and phone numbers. Depression is incredibly common and eminently treatable.
11. Skip to the good bit
It’s hard to believe when you’re in the middle of it, but there are all kinds of fantastic things you haven’t experienced yet, and it’s important to remember that. Good things are ahead.