Friday, 16 January 2015

January Blues: 10 Tips For Improving Your Mood And Dealing With Anxiety

Suffering from anxiety and low moods is a hard slog at the best times of the year, let alone at this time of year. I personally hate this time of year; Christmas is over, there's not much to look forward to apart from getting back to the 'reality' of work, the weather is grey and dull and it's just generally a rubbish time of year for me. To add to this (and this may sound stupid and incredibly jealous) but due to the fact a lot of people are actually motivated by this time of year, my mood gets worse and adds to my constant worry of underachieving. I know a lot of people who feel the same (after scanning the internet), so I thought I would make a little post on how I personally pick myself up, motivate myself, in hope of helping others.

DISCLAIMER - These tips aren't to fix a long term problem but they do help. I guess you could consider these 'tips' as quick fixes but they still help all the same - and I like to think by doing lots of small things to improve your mood WILL lead to bigger and better things.

1. Get out of bed
The hardest part and very much easier said than done on certain days but once you do it you will feel instantly a little bit better. Another dimension to this would be to make your bed - accomplishing the first task of the day and hopefully motivating you to complete more.

2. Clean the space around you.
Along the same lines as making your bed. Cleaning the space around you will make you feel a lot better. This could be as simple as just tidying your room or a full on house clean and sort out. Taking back control of your environment helps so much to clear your mind and feel productive. 

3. Clean and pamper yourself
Picture the situation, you've been hiding in bed for days, you haven't showered and you feel disgusting. Doing something as simple as showing sometimes feels like climbing a mountain but once you're in you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Use all those lovely products you got for Christmas and make yourself feel as polished as a Queen (or King). 

4. Create a relaxing and stress-free environment
After tidying your space, surround yourself with things you love. I personally love turning my fairy lights on, lighting a candle and listening to audio books and just relaxing.  

5. Make a list of the days achievements 
If you're like me and worry about underachieving then I find it so useful to make lists of things that you have achieved during the day and a list of things you want to achieve tomorrow. If you have not achieved a lot with your day today then it will motivate you to do more tomorrow. If you have achieved a lot today it will boost your confidence to face the world tomorrow.

6. Go outside (if you are up to it) 
Getting out in the fresh air can do you the world of good. Mostly taking the initial plunge is hard, especially if the weather is crap and you just want to hide from the world. However if you feel up to it I would definitely recommending leaving the four walls of your room and having a stroll.

7. Socialise 
Organising things with a friend, or small group of friends can sometimes be a breathe of fresh air during stressful times. Meet for a coffee or lunch and take your mind of the things that are getting you down. If they're good friends you could even talk about how you feel and get a fresh perspective. Sometimes, I'll sit there with my group of friends, chatting and laughing over a coffee and realise that things aren't actually so bad.

8. Put your worries into perspective

Confronting your worries can be so hard but it is definitely a huge step to feeling better. A lot of the tips I've said so far have been simply distractions however taking a step back and thinking about your problems in perspective can really help a lot. Sometimes you have got to be harsh with yourself and look at them realistically. For example:

  1.  Pending assignments
    • My assignments have to be in and I cannot change that - so I need to transfer the energy I am wasting on worrying about them and actually do them. I'm not a bad student and I do fine in my essays if I try my best. However assignments are important, so it is only natural I have anxiety about them
  2.  Travelling on a train next month
    • I have to travel on the train next month else I wont get to London and have a nice time with my boyfriend and parents - simple.
  3.  The weather being crap
    • I cannot change the weather so stop being anxious about it. 

9. Talk to someone 
I was considering leaving this tip out as I know it can be very daunting to tell someone your worries and talk about them. However if you talk to the right person, it can definitely give you a fresh perspective. Also it's not great to keep them all bottled up and sit in bed dwelling on them!

10. If you want to be sad, BE sad. Cry. Get it all out. 
Sometimes the best thing to do is cry, get it all out of your system. Your mood will improve eventually. Do not let anyone tell you that you are being silly for being upset. If it upsets you and makes you cry then cry it out, sleep and move on the next day. 

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