In my last post I shared some easy ways to give yourself an instant lift, be that out of a common or garden bad mood, or a more serious visit from depression. They all follow Newton’s first law of motion (sometimes called the law of inertia) – that an object at rest will remain so unless acted upon by another force – because a defining characteristic of a depressed emotional state is the feeling of being stuck; a lack of motivation. At the same time, whilst friends and loved ones can help, it’s true that no-one else can do it for you when it comes to making changes. So the solution is to start small – tiny – to get the ball rolling towards feeling better. These are all small actions that have helped me, and I hope they’ll help you too.
1 – Have a shower. Don’t make any other plans beyond this unless you feel like it, just get under the water and lather up with some nice smellies.
2 – Cry if you want to. Cry in the shower if you like (this was a go-to of mine when I was going through a particularly tough time – there’s something truly cathartic about letting the water wash the tears away.) Bottling it up doesn’t ultimately help, and whilst we may have to present a face to the world, we need to give ourselves space to let it all out. A good cry very often makes you feel a lot better.
3 – Stand barefoot on some grass. It feels good to remind yourself that you’re a natural animal and a part of a greater whole – you’re not alone. And besides the simple pleasure of being in contact with nature, emerging evidence shows that direct contact with the Earth may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective strategy against chronic stress, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, and numerous health disorders. A 2012 research study supports the concept that physically grounding the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.
4 – Spruce up. I always feel an immediate lift by pulling on my cowboy boots, brushing my hair and slapping on some red lippy. Maybe splash your face with cold water and put on a fresh shirt – whatever floats your boat and makes you feel fractionally more ready to face the world.
5 – Dance. Yeah I know, that’s not quite the space you’re in when you’re mid-downer, but make yourself a playlist of feelgood tunes that you know perk you up, and put it on whenever you’re in a dark place and looking for the way out of it. If you can bring yourself to shimmy a few steps to a favourite uplifting track, you might surprise yourself with how your mood starts to shift.
6 – Remind yourself that this too shall pass. To quote Guns ‘n’ Roses: ‘Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain’ – you haven’t always felt like this and you won’t always feel like this. Change is a-coming, and you will feel better. Promise.