I’ll admit it, friend: sometimes a persistent black cloud can follow me everywhere. Right now I’m battling some big old hormonal changes (need I say more), caring for a family member, and running my business; despite feeling grateful for so much of this stuff (and yes, I’m hugely privileged) it’s hard. Navigating these times—whether they’re an off-day, a challenging few months, or years of challenge—is a shared experience, despite what social media is telling you right now; everyone feels like shit at some point or other. But I’m here to change your day around. Let’s dive into the toolkit I use for dark days, and get you the boost you need.

Understanding low mood

If you find yourself in this black-cloud place, you need a toolkit (we’ll get into that in a sec). But it’s important we take a look at the reasons why a low mood is persisting:

  1. Stress: Overwhelming deadlines, personal issues, or financial pressures can naturally lead to chronic stress. And that, my friend, is a red flag. While stress is an important part of being a human being (ever managed to escape a field with a raging bull? Or quickly managed a child’s accidental knife-drawer access?), prolonged stress has the power to drain energy and change the way you see the world. Not to mention all the physical affects of stress.
  2. Burnout: Non-stop work and pushing beyond your limits can result in physical and mental exhaustion. This can look like endless days struggling to get out of bed (and I mean, not being able to move at all), or an inability to tackle simples tasks. Again, this isn’t a place you should be living in regularly.
  3. Overwhelm: it’s easy to feel trapped in a cycle of overwhelm, regardless of how much you’ve got going on. Workload, family responsibilities, mortgages, your damn phone—all can lead to a sense of complete overwhelm.
  4. Unresolved Emotional Issues: Past traumas, lingering emotions, or emotional scars can accumulate and contribute to a persistently low mood. If this is you (and it’s most of us), I’d recommend seeking out support (perhaps therapy).
  5. Hormonal Changes: Sometimes, hormones can be the biggest culprit of our low mood. I’m navigating life post hormonal IUD removal, and the hormonal rebalancing act is a complete challenge. Regardless of gender, hormonal imbalances can be influenced by health conditions, medications, menstrual cycles, or life stages, and they can directly impact mood and energy levels. Don’t overlook this stuff.

Identifying the root cause is the first step toward implementing effective strategies for support. But let’s dive into the toolkit you can use right now to help you feel better.

10 ways to boost your mood:

1. Morning meditation

Meditation is one of my favourite grounding tools. Embracing a daily practice, particularly in the morning, can be a hugely positive way to switch your day around. Guided meditation is the best way to dive in, as it gives you structure and support, especially helpful when your mind is busy (try this one).

This intentional pause allows you to find a sense of calm that can last the entire day. Not only that, the tools you learn over a dedicated meditation practice (even if you miss a day here or there) will see you finding more resilience in future challenges.

2. Mindfulness

Perhaps a boring trope of the wellness world, mindfulness is actually a really powerful thing. Put simply, it’s just about immersing yourself fully in the present moment—whatever you’re doing. Whether it’s taking a deep breath, feeling your feet on the ground, noticing sounds, or paying attention to your sense of touch, the key is to pay attention to your current experience.

3. Movement

We all know that movement boosts the brain’s feel-good chemicals, right? Well, now you do. Exercise, regardless of what you’re doing, has a profound impact on mood, releasing endorphins that help you feel bright and shiny. This could be anything from a gentle walk, to a yoga session, or an impromptu dance in your living room.

4. Connect with loved ones

Human connection is a potent antidote to crappy moods. It’s actually fascinating: when we connect with people who feel calm and grounded themselves, our nervous system regulation is also supported. This can work with pets, too.

The best way to find this coregulation, to support your journey to feeling better, is to simply spend time with people you love. While sharing a cup of coffee and having a natter might seem trivial, these interactions create an emotional safety net and can support you when you’re having a hard time.

5. Set achievable goals

Don’t add giant, life-changing tasks to your to-do list. In the pursuit of feeling better, it’s so often the small victories that can make a difference—establishing realistic, attainable goals provides direction and purpose to your day. So add tiny things to your task-list you know you can get done, that’ll help you in feeling a tiny bit better, and will be a positive thing to tick off. And make sure to celebrate when you do, whether it’s making your bed or taking a shower. Consider these to be your own, personal daily victories.

6. Don’t skip good sleep

Sleep is one of my all-time favourite and most prized tools. A good night’s sleep (and/or a nap, like an NSDR or yoga nidra) helps you process emotions, clears your mind, and sets your nervous system back into balance. If you’re feeling low, I recommend prioritising good sleep. Go to bed early, and don’t skip the sleep hygiene (take a look at our Sleep Checklist for support with this).

7. Take a break from the news

Yes, while it’s probably important to stay up-to-date with current affairs (is it?), your low mood probably deserves a break from it all. Personally, I struggle to maintain buoyancy when faced with news all the time, and that includes social media, too. So, rightly or wrongly, you’ll probably find me a little too distanced from what’s happening in the world right now.

Whether you’re with me on this one or not, it’s an important way to self-care when you’re feeling up against it. Take some time away from social media (I recommend deleting the apps entirely for a while to avoid temptation, you can always reinstall them later), turn off the radio, and listen to music you love.

8. Practice gratitude

Gratitude is a big one, and probably one you overlook. A regular practice can impact your mindset, your physical body, and your overall health (I’m not making this up). Recognising and appreciating what’s good about your life can be a really, really big deal.

Try a guided meditation, writing in a gratitude journal, or reflecting on three good things about your day before bedtime. Our 5-Week More Joy Gratitude Challenge is exactly the tonic, find it in our courses section.

9. Give yourself a break

It’s so easy to beat ourselves up when we’re going through a hard time; to feel guilty, or to hold back our complaints because we simultaneously feel super privileged. And yes, you might have an advantage in life if you have a roof over your head, a good job, and loving friends and family, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have struggles, too.

Allow yourself to be a little less productive, a little more selfish (I said it), and give yourself some space. It’s a surprising fact that if we allow ourselves to really be in these challenges, if we can accept them, we can recover much quicker. This goes for heartache, grief, anxieties… just try it. You’re doing better than you think.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Repeat after me: asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. I’ve been in therapy for over two years, working with a coach for over four, and both of these elements of my life have impacted me in ways I can’t begin to tell you. If you’re feeling stuck, like you need more support than these points above can give you, find a professional. It doesn’t matter what form the help comes in as long as it resonates with you. You got this.

Chloe - TYR Founder & Joyful Living Coach

POSTED: 23/02/2024

Chloe is a yoga teacher, mindfulness guide, and joyful living coach, and she thinks the meaning of life is probably to be as happy as possible.

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