Feeling Down? Small Steps to Start Feeling Better
We all have times when we feel flat. Maybe we know the reason (we need a break, there’s conflict at work or trouble at home), but sometimes we don’t. Here are some concrete steps you can take to help lift your mood when you’re feeling down.
All these pointers rely on a fundamental principle: be kind to yourself (however you define this and based on your circumstances). This might mean taking things one day at a time or getting back to the basics of self-care. As these small but important acts become habits, you may feel your mood begin to ease or lift:*
Accept that there is an issue
We understand that it can be difficult to recognise or acknowledge that you’re not feeling yourself; many of us put on a brave face and try to hide our feelings, even from ourselves. The truth is: only when you identify, can you begin to rectify.
Climb hills, before you climb a mountain (a favourite analogy of mine)
When even the smallest acts can feel like a challenge, it helps to break your day into manageable parts (the hills). You can also break tasks into smaller chunks to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. This will support you to achieve mini goals, whether that’s as simple as getting dressed in the morning, or a daunting project deadline.
Turn to loved ones
Reaching out is a sign of strength. It may not feel like it when you’re down, but friends and family want to be there for you (just as you would want to help someone you care about).
Exercise and eat healthily
When we’re down, we often crave the very things that aren’t good for us. But a balanced diet and regular exercise will keep your mind and body fresh, reduce tension and stress, and increase your mood. Perhaps it’s time to consult a nutritionist and find out what would help you boost your energy? Start small: even a five-minute walk outside will boost your mood and help you to feel stronger emotionally.
Establish a sleep routine
We know that getting out of bed is often the first challenge of the day when you feel down or depressed; you might feel heavy, that you could continue sleeping all day or wonder what the point of your day is.
Here’s where good sleep habits really help. Getting a good night’s rest, if possible, and waking up at the same time each morning keeps you well rested and balanced. It also helps to do some mindset work first thing in the morning and to visualise some pleasure in your day.
Answer this crucial question
What are you really saying to yourself about yourself and the situation you are in? Simply being aware of negative thoughts is a great start. Don’t judge the thoughts – just watch them, and then quietly let them go. If you feel ready and strong enough, experiment with a more positive/functional thought. Stay tuned as we will get back to this topic in a future article!
Start with one thing a day
I give my clients a ‘pleasant events list’ with approximately 100 ideas for bringing more love and joy into their lives, asking them to do one thing a day. Their feedback is that it work wonders!
Create a list for yourself or choose one activity you used to enjoy and commit to trying it, without any expectation. No matter how it goes, congratulate yourself for just showing up. Then see how you feel the next day, and the next, accepting that sometimes you may go two steps forward and one step back. That’s okay!
Take it slowly and acknowledge even the smallest steps forward
We understand that the steps above – even the “simplest” ones – take extra effort when you’re down. This is why we encourage you to take it slowly. Some steps will be easier than others; just as some days will be easier than others.
No matter your “success”, congratulate yourself for getting through the day and for trying. Hold even the smallest achievements in your heart. Know that you can recover as you make one small victory after another.
Feel you need more? Where to turn for help
Untreated depression or feeling down for a long time can have devastating consequences on your life and how you feel about yourself. If you are experiencing depression, remember: it doesn’t have to be this way. Give yourself a chance to feel better again.
You know best if things in your life are not well. Problems at home or in your love life, low energy or sleeping issues and many more challenges can be signs that something is not right. In that case we advise you to seek professional help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
You are most welcome to contact us, if this feels right for you. We offer support with experienced counsellor, in several languages and at a time that works best for you, in the comfort of your environment. We are here to support you. You don’t have to go through this alone.
What one act of self-care could you start doing today? Feel free to share your own tips below.
P.S. Book your free 15-min intro call now and can start changing your life today.
*This article is not meant to treat depression but to share a few helpful suggestions. If you feel that your symptoms of depression are not improving, we advise you to consult a doctor and/or mental health professional.
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© Vivian Chiona
4 commentsWrite a comment
Honestly Vivian you must be a mind reader! This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thank you as ever for your incredibly helpful article. I’ll be in touch.
Thanks so much and happy to hear that you found this article and that it kicked in the right time! I love being a mind-reader.
You are always welcome, Carol. My door is always open for you.
Take care and thanks for being such a valuable member of the Expat Nest community
I am very much on board with your above writing dear Vivian. I try to apply them for quite some time already as I learned the hard way that otherwise either the bucket overflows or the pot cracks to use two expressions I find applicable. In particular sharing is important but also do something at times that makes one forget the issues one is dealing with. Indulge in a moment of pleasure. I can assure everyone it works.