Life Hacks When You’re Not Feeling Your Best
We’ve all experienced it, it catches us unawares in the moments where we least expect it. That nagging sensation that everything’s just not okay. It manifests in different ways for different people. Some people feel tired, luggish and struggle to get motivated, others become irritable and lash out at the ones they love. Whenever and however it presents itself, we all feel now and then that we’re not at all ourselves. Often we’ve been too busy caught up in the day-to-day of our busy lives that we’ve hardly stopped to notice it, but it’s there.
While we all experience feelings of fatigue, anxiety and an all-pervasive sense of things just plain not being okay, the root causes are so diverse that there’s really no catch-all solution. Therefore, I’ve detailed a diverse range of life hacks so that whatever the cause of your feelings, there’s a good chance you can find an approach that works for you.
While some of these solutions are bigger changes than others, I’ve done my best to include workable solutions that require fairly minimal upheaval (winning the lottery or getting superpowers might make you feel a whole lot better but they’re hardly workable solutions). carry on doing the lottery though just incase 🙂
Likewise, you should be aware that no one of these is guaranteed to make bad feelings go away forever. This is just a handy portmanteau of coping strategies to help you feel great and turn yourself around when you catch yourself in a less-than-brilliant mood.
Get out, get out, get out
If you’re feeling low at work or home, take some time to get outside and be amongst trees, sunlight, nature and other human beings. Prolonged exposure to artificial light is proven to have a range of ill-effects ranging from sleep trouble to increased risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular issues. Getting outside, even for short stretches, can have immediate and long-term health benefits (from improved memory function and stress relief to better eyesight) so you should try and get out for a walk on your lunch break or whenever you feel low.
I always feel better when I go out in my garden. Pottering about and pruning plants makes me feel alive and now this can be perscribed from the doctors as well…so getting out and breathing some good old fresh air can really help to make you feel alot better if you are stuck in a rut.
You are what you eat
When we’re busy, stressed and overworked healthy cooking and eating have a tendency to go right out of the window. The result? We reach for high carb, high fat, high sugar, high salt convenience foods which give us a short term serotonin boost only to come crashing down later as our mood (along with our blood sugar) plummets. Ditch the crisps, chocolate bars and microwaved burgers for these foods proven to boost your mood and energy while improving your health:
- Bananas- High in potassium and b vitamins as well as slow-release carbohydrates to keep your energy levels high and stave off hunger.
- Coconut- Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats there i, using medium chain triglycerides to create energy rather than storing it as fat.
- Kale- Pound for pound there are few mood boosting foods as potent as kale, rich as it is in energy boosting minerals like copper, iron, potassium and phosphorous.
- Goji berries- These delicious berries have been used for their medicinal properties for centuries to help increase energy and regulate the body’s release of hormones. They can increase the body’s ability to handle stress and support healthy mood, and improve memory function while giving you the energy you need to get your day off to a great start.
Healthy mind healthy body
Regular exercise can have a profound effect on improving mental health in the long term while also providing an instant mood boost and feeling of wellbeing. Studies have shown that regular exercise can be just as effective in treating anxiety and depression as medication can help you to get a good night’s sleep not to mention the physical effects such as reduced body fat and improved muscle tone can greatly improve your self-image which can only ever improve your mood.
If your schedule isn’t really conducive to joining the gym or attending classes then the good news is that the exercise doesn’t have to be too strenuous for you to enjoy the benefits. Even a 15 minute brisk walk can do you enormous good and if you don’t have very good mobility you could try sitting in a chair and lifting you’re legs up or lifting you’re arms above you’re head…just try something that you can do to give yourself a little light exercise…this will all go to help you feel better mentally.
Maybe it’s time to get a pet
If you don’t already have a cuddly companion in your life, then you’re missing out on a great mood-booster. Owning pets (of any sort) is a proven way of combatting a range of mental health and mood related issues. When you pet an animal, the act of slow, rhythmic stroking or grooming releases oxytocin which is a natural aid to stress and anxiety relief while also decreasing blood pressure and cortisone (stress hormone) levels.
They’re also great at combating loneliness and keeping them healthy and happy is a tremendously rewarding endeavour. If you have kids, then pets are a fantastic way of teaching them responsibility and accountability as well as being a terrific means of binding together as a family.
Never underestimate a good night’s sleep
Sleeping is as essential to our health as breathing, yet it’s astonishing how many people sell themselves short on this life essential. Devout workaholics are particularly guilty of eating into their sleeping allowance to do more work and trying to caffeinate their way to a good mood in the morning. Obviously this is not sustainable. Sleep is vital to our mental and physical well being, it’s when our bodies repair our muscles (so if you’ve been working away at the gym to no avail, this may be why).
There are many reasons why you may not be getting enough sleep (I generally recommend 6-8 hours). It’s possible that anxiety is keeping you awake, causing you to wake up tired which makes you more anxious and the cycle continues. It’s vital that your bed is comfortable and that you keep your bedroom free of distractions and to not spend too much time reading, watching TV or playing on your tablet in bed as this will make the act of going to sleep less potent and make it harder to nod off!
Make time for you
This can be incredibly difficult, especially if you have kids, but a little solitude can give you much needed time to relax and let your worries go. Take at least an hour a day to do the things that you enjoy whether it’s a hot bath, snuggling up with a good book, getting lost in a film or dancing around the house to your favourite tunes. Whatever it is, don’t deprive yourself of the simple, everyday pleasures which will keep your disposition sunny.
Clear away Clutter
Unless you live in a mansion with a dozen bedrooms, clutter is an inevitable part of modern living. It can also be the enemy of a peaceful mind. It’s difficult to be serene and calm when you have a coffee table covered in bills and you’re dodging the kids’ lego pieces on your way to the bathroom in the morning. Decluttering is a great way of calming your mind as it will ensure that your environment feels less busy and will allow your mind to focus helping to ease feelings of anxiety.
Keep a diary
Bridget Jones kept a diary as a way of working through her various issues and of charting her progress, and there’s evidence to suggest that it can help you, too! Chronicling your thoughts, worries and anxieties can help you gain some much needed perspective as well as helping you to order your thoughts and allowing you a way to mark off issues as soon as they are addressed.
It’s a well known adage that a little bit of what you fancy does you good. While a healthy diet and lifestyle are an invaluable way of keeping your mood up, it’s absolutely fine to indulge yourself once in awhile. The caveat, of course, it ensuring that a treat remains a treat. It’s one thing to treat yourself to a new dress to treat yourself and show off the progress you’ve made in your exercise, but compulsive shopping whenever you feel down will create far more problems than it solves.
Likewise a takeaway on Friday night can be a well-deserved treat to reward yourself at the end of a healthy week, but if you’re gorging on pizza four or five times a week, not only will you feel bloated and unhappy with yourself, you’ll be less excited by the prospect of your next pizza.
Talk to someone
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and counselling are great ways of catching damaging thought processes and nipping them in the bud, but if you’re not feeling up to talking to a trained professional, there’s evidence to suggest that talking to a trusted friend, partner or relative can still do real good for your mental health.
Face to face human interaction is a vital component of mental health which often gets overlooked in the age of social media.
I hope you can take something from this post, particularly if you are feeling low at the moment or you know someone who is feeling this way…it’s a terrible part of life and we can all go through it at some point…take heed and don’t beat yourself up about it…Life can be SH*T sometimes, its how you come through it that matters…If you ever fancy a chat about you’re the way you are feeling…just leave me a nudge in the comments section below and I will get back to you…I have been there myself and I strongly believe that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Love yourself people xx