In these unprecedented times, many people across the nation have experienced some form of low mood. Whether triggered by an event such as stress at work, the death of a loved one, or illness, the feeling can be unbearable. Many describe a “low mood” as a feeling of hopelessness. Others describe it as a lack of energy or being tired all the time. Sound familiar? As we continue through an age of uncertainty, it’s important to devote time to understanding these feelings. The use of coping skills may allow you to avoid sliding too far into these dips.
What Is Low Mood?
Low mood can be described as:
- Low self-esteem
- Being tired or low energy
It’s not uncommon for people to feel these things. A large portion of adults report feeling at least 2-3 of the above symptoms from time to time. For example, if you experience a triggering event such as job loss, sudden illness, loss of a loved one, these are all reasons to feel down. But, the duration of symptoms, as well as frequency, may indicate a deeper issue such as depression. The following coping skills may be used to alleviate symptoms of low mood. However, speak with your doctor if these symptoms persist.
1. Take A Walk
If you find yourself feeling low, get up and walk. The act of walking can release endorphins and has been proven to make people happier. Plus, it allows you to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Other positive effects of walking include:
- Allows for better sleep
- Promotes the building of endurance
- Allows you to clear your mind
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves inside more than ever. If you’re one of them, consider starting slow-walking short distances and increasing once you feel more confident. This will help you reduce the risk of injury.
2. Connect With Someone
Quarantine, Shelter in place, Isolate. These words have a common theme – loneliness. In recent years, loneliness has affected many people. One group significantly affected has been teens and young adults.
As humans, we strive for connection. Our ability to socialize, form bonds of friendship, and develop and utilize emotional intelligence, is a cornerstone of our evolution. For this reason, it’s crucial to connect with friends, natural supports, and mental health professionals when necessary, according to Psychology Today.
“Previous research has shown that people feel happier when interacting with others and that happy people interact more with others. Similar results were found in the current study: People who had more social interactions were happier on average than those who interacted less. People also felt happier and more socially connected when they spoke to others in the past hour, compared to when they did not. The amount of social interaction during the hour also made a difference.”
Of course, you can be selective. Choose individuals with whom you feel comfortable and never force yourself to be social.
3. Deep Breathing
Breathing deeply has been shown to have positive results on mental health. Find a place where you feel comfortable. Try to reduce any background noise around you. Get into a comfortable position and begin breathing in deeply, allowing your chest to fill up entirely. Exhale. Repeat. Count each breathe and focus on your quality of breathing. Do this for ten minutes each day, preferably in the morning or evening.
Studies have shown that deep breathing can:
- Lessen anxiety
- Improve focus
- Calm you down
Deep breathing takes practice. But, over time, and by incorporating deep breathing with other coping skills, you’ll begin feeling happiness. By breathing deeply, you’re telling your nervous system to calm itself.
4. Get Off Social Media
As mentioned above, we strive for meaningful connections. It’s what provides us purpose, self-worth, and happiness, and it does wonders for our mental health. However, many of these connections have become mainly digital. As a result, we’ve become isolated and less social. Furthermore, social media is linked to anxiety and low self-esteem. Upvotes, Likes, and Shares may serve as positive reinforcements for younger generations, but that same generation has reported feeling uncomfortable when unable to check their social media accounts.
This doesn’t mean you should quit social media. Set a personal goal to use it no more than 1-2 times per day. Or, dedicate a few hours to getting outside and walking in place of time spent on your phone. Other ideas might include turning off your phone and computer after a specific time.
5. Limit Alcohol Consumption
As a depressant, alcohol has the potential to worsen depression and anxiety. It also weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Having a drink socially on occasion may be nice, but a drink a day may be harmful, especially if you experience symptoms of low mood. Additionally, the aftereffect of alcohol (the hangover) can worsen self-esteem, sadness, energy, and anxiety. Set a goal to limit your intake of alcohol and evaluate how you feel at the end of the week or month. A combination of physical exercise, good quality sleep, and reducing alcohol can eliminate the feeling of low mood. Of course, consult with your doctor if you or someone else believes you have a problem with alcohol before making any decisions.
The last few years have tested our mental health. Fear, isolation, and worry are common emotions felt by the public daily, so self-care is more important than ever. Using the above coping skills can drastically change the way you feel. However, speak with your doctor if the feeling of low mood is unaffected by using these coping skills and persists for longer than a few days.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
About the Author: Jason Kaefer is a mental health case manager and writer with years of experience in human services. Additionally, he specializes in the use of coping skills to support independence, mindfulness, and happiness for those struggling with mental illness. Jason also produces informational outdoor content at http://www.wildoutdoor.org.
Resources to Recover and Our Sponsor Laurel House Celebrate Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a time for celebrating the outstanding achievements of Blacks and African Americans and their central role in US history. It is also a time to recognize the struggles Black people have faced throughout the history of our nation and give tribute to the strength and resilience of generations of Black Americans who have risen above adversity.
Black History Month originated from an idea by Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson, who wrote the Journal of Negro History in 1916 to herald the achievements of overlooked African Americans in US history and culture. In 1926 he led an effort by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) to officially declare the second week of February as “Negro History Week.” These dates align with the birthdays of two crucial figures in Black American history: Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809), who signed the Emancipation Proclamation officially ending slavery in the United States, and the Black American abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass (February 14, 1818), an escaped slave who is widely considered the most influential civil and human rights advocate of the 19th century. In 1976, President Gerald Ford gave official governmental recognition to the observance by declaring February “Black History Month.”
Without the contributions of Blacks and African Americans to more than 500 years of US history, culture, entertainment and the arts, science, athletics, industry and the economy, public service, and the Armed Forces, we would not be the country we are today.
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The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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