In our hectic, busy modern age, it can be very difficult indeed to find time for self-care.
The truth is that self-care is more important than it has ever been, but many of us simply don’t make room in our schedules to look after ourselves. As a result, we can often find ourselves tired, fatigued, and lacking the energy to do the things we love outside of work. The good news is that there’s lots you could be doing to improve your mood.
Here are 8 things you can do to make yourself happier if work and life are getting you down.
- Do something you’ve never done before
One of the things that can really get you down is adhering to the same routine day in and day out. While there are many aspects of life that improve when you implement a routine, you should be looking to add new activities and experiences into your life in order to convince yourself that life isn’t as repetitive as you think.
Go skydiving, try seeking out some psychic predictions, or join some clubs to make some new friends. Your options are limitless; all that’s holding you back is the time and effort you’re willing to put in!
- Pursue a hobby
Everyone has hobbies; if you haven’t found yours yet, there’s still plenty of time, so don’t worry. Many of us allow our hobbies to lapse as our work schedules take over our lives, so if you’ve got a hobby you haven’t been pursuing lately, now’s the time to get into it more seriously. Pick that musical instrument back up and get serious about learning it.
Got some money saved up? Why not buy some video editing equipment and become the filmmaker you’ve always dreamed of being? Hobbies enrich our lives and can quickly become passions if you let them.
- Take a break from work
You don’t owe your workplace anything but your time and your energy, so if it’s time to start winding down and thinking about taking a break, you should seize that opportunity. You could be suffering from burnout and be completely unaware of it. When this happens, it’s important to step away from your workload and take some time for yourself.
Try to detach yourself from your in-tray; somebody else will take up the slack, and if they don’t, then it can’t have been that important to begin with. Your health is more important than your job!
- Spend time with friends and family
One of the things depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems can do is to make you less inclined to socialise. Doing so can even feel more difficult when you’re depressed or even just suffering from low mood. Despite this, it’s more important to spend time with friends and family when you’re down than it normally would be. Hanging out with people you love can have a seriously positive impact on your mood. If they’re true friends, they’ll fully understand if you don’t commit entirely to conversations and will be happy just to be there for you.
- Don’t expect too much of yourself
No matter what kind of career trajectory you’ve got planned out for yourself, it’s important not to expect too much. If you haven’t quite achieved what you hoped to achieve by a certain time, then it doesn’t mean you’ve failed; you simply need to adjust your plans to accommodate these new developments.
Be kind to yourself and don’t simply assume you’re failing because things aren’t quite going as you expected them to. This goes double for tragic events such as deaths in the family or a loss of employment. Be realistic about your expectations and your accomplishments.
- Try to get more sleep and relax more
When you’re stressed out, it’s very difficult to find time to relax. However, your lack of sleep could well be the thing that’s causing your low mood in the first place.
If you don’t sleep well, it can impair your judgement, your decision-making, and your overall state of mind. Set aside some time at the end of each day to relax into sleep.
This includes not overusing your devices, as the blue light emitted by the screen can seriously damage your chances of sleeping. Instead, try reading, listening to a podcast, or simply soaking in a bath with no devices or media.
- Don’t make important decisions
During times of stress or sadness, it can be extremely tempting to make massive decisions like ending a relationship, quitting your job, or moving house. This is in actual fact the worst time to make those decisions, as your cognition is impaired by your mood.
Instead, try hard to take a step back and look at your situation. Draw up a list of pros and cons and compare them. Do you really feel that bad about your job or your marriage, or are you just letting the depression or low mood speak for you? Important decisions should only be made when you’re feeling okay.
- See a doctor
There’s definitely a right and a wrong way to explain what you’re going through to your doctor, but it’s something you should do if you’re concerned that your mood is seriously impacting your life. Your doctor isn’t there to belittle or ignore you; they want to know how to help you and make you better, so don’t be afraid about “wasting their time” (a common complaint, believe it or not).
Making an appointment to see your doctor could be the best decision you’ve ever made, so don’t put it off until you think the problem is “serious enough”; it’s serious enough once it’s affecting your life.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post