Struggling with the blues is no way to live well. You can truly benefit from having a few tricks up your sleeves to build your positive outlook and resilience in times of stress.
What Brings on the Blues?
Sometimes it happens when life’s stressors hit you hard, like when you’re supporting a loved one who is ill, or struggling with a big change at work. Other times, you might not even know exactly why you’re feeling melancholy—is it a milestone birthday, a kid off to college, or the news of the day?
For most of us, a case of the blues will pass (barring any clinical disorders that need a doctor’s attention, of course). But, you might find it takes more time and effort than you expected.
In the meantime, you might experience symptoms that call your attention to how you’re feeling on the inside. For instance, carb and sugar cravings, fatigue even when rested, anxiousness, or a lack of satisfaction from everyday activities.
It’s possible that some of these symptoms arise when one part of your brain called the hypothalamus is compromised, like when you experience a high-stress or sad event. This can affect several body functions like hormone production that affects your mood, and your internal body clock that helps you sleep and wake.
Ways to Beat the Blues
- Ask the Doc: You don’t have to let a possible mental health condition get the best of you. Consider seeing your doctor or your counselor if you think you might be depressed or you’re struggling to cope.
- Lifestyle tweaks: Exercise regularly and learn mindfulness to manage your stress levels. A Sun Salutation in the morning or a walking meditation at lunch could do the trick on many of your gray days. Also, bring your eating style and nutrition in balance. If you’re seeking comfort from food or skipping meals due to nerves, you’re headed down a counterproductive path.
- Fresh air and sunlight: There’s something about a dose of nature that really does clear the mind and calm the nerves. For a long time, trips to the country for clean mountain air were actually prescribed by physicians! Get outside and see if a short exposure to natural sunlight helps you feel a little bit better.
- Connect with others: Seeking out an open ear and advice on managing your mindset can make a big difference when you’re feeling low. Whether it’s a life coach, a church group or your mom, it’s worth reflecting on your worries and feelings with the support of someone who cares.