Constant Bad Moods?
Has your mood been repeatedly sour lately? Have you noticed that you’re feeling sadder more often than usual? The cause of those sad vibes may be different every time. But frankly, we’re not surprised. Life has been A LOT lately. But with all of that stressing us out and getting our mood down, there might be some solutions to resolving those feelings. Here are nine ideas to help with stress, anxiety, and depressive mood swings during lockdown and beyond.
Take A Break
First, consider a tactic of distraction. Take a break. Get your mind off your stressor. Below are four strategies for doing that.
(Keep in mind, none of these strategies should be taken as permanent fixes for any longstanding mental or behavioral health issues. Issues like clinical depression are serious disorders that should be addressed by a mental health professional. But, more on that can be found in the other section below).
1. Listen To Music
Almost everyone loves music. Many also have specific genres, albums, or songs that make them happy. Maybe it’s time for you to pop on your headphones and drown out the world. Several studies have found that listening to music can help reduce stress, ease anxiety, improve sleep, lessen a depressed mood, create a positive mood, boost self-confidence, and increase energy.
2. Go Out In Nature
Another idea is to go out in nature. “Getting away from it all” is a phrase you’ve probably heard before. And you know what? Its benefits are very true. There’s something therapeutic about being out in nature. Near the water and amongst the trees. If you can’t go to the woods, consider visiting a park or the waterfront near you.
3. Step Away From Screens
Or maybe you just need to get off your computer and phone. If so, get off it right now. Yes, you reading this very sentence. Stop. Turn it off. Walk away.
Our screens have become addictions. We constantly have to stay connected to them. We have to check-in and get that endorphin boost. But, sometimes you need a break. Especially if you frequent social media on a regular basis.
Just as with music, it seems that exercising can boost a person’s mood. According to the American Psychological Association, a 2007 study from Duke University found that staying physically active helps to alleviate long-term depression.
“There's good epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people. And people who were active and stopped tend to be more depressed than those who maintain or initiate an exercise program,” says James Blumenthal, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke.
5. Get Some Sleep
The final measure we have for taking a break from the stressors and the triggers causing you to feel bad is to get more sleep. Adults need around 8 hours of sleep each night. Meeting that requirement means giving your brain enough time to relax and lower stress/anxiety levels. Or consider taking a nap during the day. That way, you can take a pause from whatever’s bothering you and possibly wake up refreshed.
“Sleep is essential for the body to rest, but even more important for the brain to declutter,” said Dr. Alex Dimitriu to Healthline. “At night, our brains process the events of the day, put memories into long-term storage, and also make room for new learning to be possible the following day. There is evidence that we also emotionally rehearse scenarios from the past and the future.”
Address Your Feelings
But, of course, it’s not good to permanently ignore mood swings, constant depression, or negative feelings. Eventually, you’ll need to address them. Here are four ways that you can do that.
1. Write In A Journal/Diary
First, you can just take the time to acknowledge your feelings to yourself. In order to do that, you can write in a journal or diary. Diaries have gotten a bad rep for years, but it can be great to have a place where you write out your thoughts and process things happening in your life. You can then look back on these notes and writings years later and be amazed at the paths you’ve taken in life.
2. Talk to A Close One
Or, maybe you want to get feedback for whatever you’re feeling. If you are not ready to talk to a professional, consider talking to a close and trusted person in your life. This could be your mom, your friend, your lover, or anyone else that comes to mind. In many cases, opening up about what’s bothering you and telling someone else can be a great and freeing experience.
3. Talk To A Therapist
But eventually, you might need to talk to a professional. If so, consider reaching out to a therapist in your area. You don’t have to like the first therapist you talked to. You might need to take time to find someone you like, and that’s ok. There are plenty of pros out there and many of them have a sliding scale or other factors to how they charge for their services. Plus, many therapists have realms of expertise. Shop and search around to find the right therapist for you.
4. Call A Helpline
If you need to talk to someone or anyone right now, there are phone services for that too. Here are a few phone numbers you could call to seek help concerning a variety of issues.
- Call 911
- Disaster Distress Helplineexternal icon: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746. Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico can text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifelineexternal icon: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.
- National Domestic Violence Hotlineexternal: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotlineexternal: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotlineexternal: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- The Eldercare Locatorexternal: 1-800-677-1116
- Veteran’s Crisis Lineexternal: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
To find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health:
- SAMHSA’s National Helplineexternal: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889
- Treatment Services Locator Websiteexternal icon
- Interactive Map of Selected Federally Qualified Health Centersexternal icon