Already late to our destination, I took my time getting into the backseat of my mom’s car. I was about 11-years old and I was on my way to compete in a school spelling bee. I had on an outfit that I wasn’t too keen on (turquoise, khaki and glitter, ugh) and to top it off, I was feeling like complete shit. Nothing new at that time, my mood had been in a reoccurring state of somber for a while. My mother, obviously fed up and confused by it, turned around and with a terrifying look on her face screamed, “What is wrong with you?” I can’t remember what I may have done to instigate my mother’s outburst but I’m sure that typical preadolescent growing pains were a contribution. What I didn’t know was how much anxiety and depression played a part. At the time, I didn’t even know what those words meant. It took me about another 7 years, when things had intensified, to figure it out.
For years, I struggled with my mood swings. When I was happy, I was happy but when I was down I was down. Bad relationships, financial hardships and sometimes absolutely nothing would sling me into the deep waves of despair. Eventually, I got better and through time I picked up some quick fix tricks that helped take the edge off for when things got rough.
Going for a walk or talking to a friend can be helpful but here are 5 things that you may have never thought to do to improve your mood when you’re feeling anxious or down in the ditches.
1.Clean/Organize If you’re anything like me, clutter tends to agitate my anxiety so fold the clothes that have been sitting in your hamper for the past week. Put the trash in the trash can or just do one small thing (or several if your up to it) that will help clean or organize your environment.
2. Make a To-Do List It only takes about 3 unfinished projects or errands to give me scatter brain. When things that I have to do start to pile up, my mind does the opposite of what you’d think. Instead of going into work mode. I freeze. One way I’ve learned to overcome this is by creating to-do lists. I have a to-do list for everything. Errands, daily goals, weekly goals, to-do lists for the morning and to-do lists for the night. Doing this helps me keep things in order and helps with not getting overwhelmed by what still needs to be done.
3. Do Something Hygenic Brush your teeth. Change your underwear. Change your sheets. It doesn’t sound like much but forcing myself to make some hygienic moves (even when I don’t feel like leaving the bed) always seems to do the trick. I wash my hands and/or face. Take a
hoe bird bath or a shower.
Author, Beth McColl, wrote a thread on Twitter that included some of these tips. A lot of them I already did but she introduced me to some new, small tasks that help me when I’m not feeling the greatest. Check it out for yourself. https://twitter.com/imteddybless/status/940723426397970433
4.Write I don’t always like talking to people about how I’m feeling so keeping a journal or diary has helped me to communicate my issues when I need a release. Keeping a physical copy of my thoughts also allows me to go back and revisit the times were I felt my worst, see my progress or remember promises and commitments that I made to myself.
5. Watch Spiritual/Motivational Videos. There have been moments where I needed a reminder that everything would be okay so the videos can be a big help. Videos or audio like these can also give you a different perspective on a situation that you may be going through. The best part about this option is that you don’t have to leave your solitude to hear some sound advice.
“Imaginations. You’re being fought by imaginations.” – T.D. Jakes
Images/ Instagram: (@axowch ; @dongottti)
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