It is such a normal part of life to have days where your mood is just lower. For many reasons (often in combination), you may just feel a bit blah. You can be tired, not quite feeling yourself, or just not feel very motivated to do the things that need to get done.
It is so normal to have days where you feel this way, regardless of how well you are taking care of yourself. It is not realistic to think that you will feel completely ‘happy’, energetic and motivated 100% of the time. You would not be human if this were the case. It does not necessarily mean you are depressed, you may just be having an ‘off’ day or week for no apparent reason, or because of a combination of factors.
These things happen, and it’s always good to have a bit of a ‘toolkit’ ready with practical ideas that may be helpful to try next time you are feeling this way. There are endless ideas of how to lift your mood, but 10 ideas to consider are;
1. Let Yourself Feel It
In order to process whatever you might be feeling in a healthy way, sometimes you’ve just got to actually feel it in order to move on. Rather than instantly try and push those negative feelings away, or change them, try to have the patience to sit with them for a while. Allow yourself a timeframe to sit with the feelings without having to do anything with them (say one hour, or one day). Try not to let them stop you completely from your normal day, just don’t put any pressure on yourself to try and change the way you are feeling or hide it from those around you.
2. Express Yourself to Those Around You
It’s often helpful to let those close to you know how you’re feeling, simply by saying “I’m feeling a bit Blah today”. Just giving them a heads up can be useful as it prompts them to give you some space and not take your vibe personally if you aren’t as interactive as normal. If you find by telling someone how you’re feeling they begin to crowd you and ask too many questions, tell them you could benefit from some space or quiet time just to ‘be’.
3. Open All the Curtains
Let natural light in! This will give you an instant energy surge and promote ‘feel-good’ feelings. If you’re feeling a little lethargic, it will also increase alertness and awaken you.
Natural light stimulates serotonin production in our brains, which can improve our energy levels, decrease any pain we might have, promote a sense of calmness, and generally produces a greater sense of wellbeing within us.
4. Make Your Bed
The simple act of making your bed, or tidying your living space, can set the mood for the rest of the day and make you feel a little more ‘together’ and calmer. Clutter and mess induce feelings of overwhelm within us, so taking a couple of minutes to tidy and create a calmer space can set you up for feeling a little less Blah throughout the day if you’re at home, or provide you with a clean and inviting space to retreat to at the end of the day.
5. Give Yourself a ‘Time-Out’
Look at what’s happening for you that day or week, and see what is a priority, and what can potentially be moved to another day when you’re feeling more yourself, or let go of completely.
Remember that for some tasks or commitments, you’re not doing yourself or anyone else any favours by trying to push through something that you just can’t bring your best self to the table for. Also, your energy levels are likely to remain low for longer if you don’t stop and take a breath where you can.
Create the space to rest and take care of yourself. That doesn’t necessarily mean taking everything off your list and camping out on the couch (although this sounds nice!), but taking those things off your to-do list that can wait and are not urgent gives you a little more breathing room to focus on the things that actually need to get done and do them well, ensuring there’s a little chill out time in the mix too.
6. Move Your Body
You don’t have to necessarily ‘exercise’, but just take a gentle stroll around the block, stretch while you watch your favourite tv show, dance with your kids to the wiggles. Or even just do something around the house that needs doing like hanging out a load of washing. I’m amazed sometimes how tired I feel when I’m sitting doing nothing, and then when I drag myself to do something that needs doing around the house, I feel so much more awake and energised.
7. Eat Well
Choose the apple over the chocolate. Unfortunately, this is so much easier said than done at the best of times, but especially when you’re feeling low. Eating well will set up your body for improved energy and provide you with the fuel you need- particularly when you’re not feeling great. The chocolate won’t serve your body as well as the apple will. Save indulging for when you’re likely to eat based on enjoyment rather than emotions.
8. Play Music
Music can be a powerful tool to acknowledge, work through or release our emotions; to lift or ‘allow’ us to sit with our various moods. When we are choosing to listen to music, it can often inherently be an unintentional (or intentional) form of checking in with ourselves and often serves a self-help function for us.
It’s a great idea to have some playlists saved on your phone or in your music collection that accommodate different moods and what you might be wanting to incite. If you are having a blah day, playing your favourite music, or music you find uplifting, can help to boost your mood.
9. Don’t Dwell for Too Long
It’s completely healthy and necessary to allow yourself time to sit with low feelings. But try to give yourself a timeframe for this and then get back to normal as best you can. Often, once you’ve allowed yourself permission and space to acknowledge feeling out of sorts and taken time to rest, it’s a lot easier to start the next day fresh and move on. Sometimes you may need to take a few days to go easy on yourself, but it’s also important not to dwell too long. If you’re feeling low for an extended period of time, it might be worth booking an appointment with your GP to rule out any physical or emotional factors that could be contributing to your low mood.
10. Acknowledge a Feeling and Then Move On
Try this meditative practice- imagine each thought that comes up is a leaf floating by in a stream. You notice it, but watch it pass on by.
You don’t have to do anything at all with a negative or unhelpful feeling every single time you have one. You don’t have to process, work through or push away a feeling. Simply notice it’s there, and then let it go. Also, don’t judge yourself for having certain feelings. Just acknowledge that you’re feeling a certain way, and then move on. This also helps you to not get ‘stuck’ in a feeling or mood. If you’re noticing it, but not dwelling on it or making it bigger than it is, you’re likely to be able to move on from it in a much healthier and timely way.
Hopefully these ideas will be useful for you to think about how to navigate those blah days next time they come up. Maybe pick three that resonate with you and write them down somewhere you’ll see them when you’re having a blah day, or write them down as notes in your phone, as a reminder of actionable steps you can take to help. All of the above is pretty common sense, but sometimes in the midst of a low mood, we all need reminding of what will help.
And remember, if you are ever feeling low for a longer period of time (or
are feeling low quite regularly) and just don’t feel quite right about it or
need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your GP, a trusted loved
one, Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyondblue (1300 22 4636).