I know you’ve been there. We’ve all been there. We all know what it’s like to feel mentally drained, physically exhausted, and lacking enthusiasm and motivation to do anything.
Not too long ago, I was having one of those “blah” weeks. I was low on energy and feeling slightly sorry for myself. More frustrating was the fact that I couldn’t nail down a reason for it. Eventually I decided to give myself a break from all of my personal expectations and just relax. Now, this is not something that comes easily to me and other Type-A personalities will know what I mean. But this time, I knew it’d be in my best interest to listen because I’d had enough of being stuck in a bad mood.
Everyone has different strategies for coping with stress. Since I believe that sharing is caring, I thought I’d share a couple of the ways I managed to get pumped up and back to my usual happy self again.
10 Tips for Bouncing Back
1. Get moving.
I’m sure you’ve read article after article about how study x, y, or z found that active people report being happier than sedentary people. I won’t lie – some days when I get up, I just don’t feel like going for a run or pounding out a spin session, but getting up and getting out the door is the hardest part. But once the muscles start working, I’m golden! It’s amazing how only a few minutes of exercise can make you feel a million times better.
2. Talk it out, then move on.
I understand that some people are very private about their feelings whereas others could vent all day about things that grind their gears. I’m somewhere in between the two, and although it’s not common for me to go on a rant or be aggressive and confrontational, I do get a lot of emotional relief out of telling someone what’s bothering me. They’re not expected to provide a solution, but simply having a human being to hash out my ideas and feelings with is cathartic.
There’s also a part 2 to this tactic, and that’s to move on. Usually, just talking out my issues is enough to make me feel better, but spending any longer ruminating in self pity doesn’t do anything to improve the situation!
3. Eat good food.
It’s true – you are what you eat, and if you eat like crap, you’ll feel like crap. As part of my rut-busting routine, I feasted on super nutritious fruits, veggies, and other whole foods. Right now, I’m finding that hot meals feel seem to weigh me down, whereas monstrous salads featuring lean protein and veggies in every colour of the rainbow make me feel light, energized, and completely satisfied. (Check out my Good Food, Good Mood post for some more feel-good food ideas.)
4. Clean something.
Maybe it’s your car. Maybe it’s a cupboard, a drawer, a closet, your bathroom, your sink… anything! On this particular occasion, it was my kitchen and my bedroom. There’s just something about clearing away clutter (and by that I mean finding a real home for it, not just shoving it under the bed) that seems to lift a big weight off of my shoulders and helps to clear my head.
5. Spend a little time on your own.
Antisocial is definitely not a word I’d use to describe myself, but I definitely need a little alone time on a regular basis. Once I’ve done the talking in Tip #2, being on my own for a bit to just enjoy the peace and quiet seems to have a calming effect.
This brings me to the next tip…
6. Do things you love.
And by that, I mean things that you truly love, regardless of whether or not they’re productive or have a useful purpose. For example, often I feel that if I’m reading, it should be something that’s related to my career or something that is going to eventually be turned into a blog post. Reading books for pleasure isn’t something that happens very often, but recently I did just that and it was lovely. Other lovely things on my list right now: outdoor naps, Starbucks-ing, going for walks, cooking, outdoor festivals, and making popsicles (because they really were that good!!)
There’s nothing worse than trying to function on too little sleep . Well, ok, maybe there are a few things, like natural disasters and a bunch of other major world issues, but you know what I mean. Like Tip #1, countless studies have shown that in the long term, individuals who have had adequate sleep are happier, more energetic, and healthier than those who do not.
Studies and science aside, it just makes sense: If we get enough high quality sleep, it gives us more energy. When we have more energy, we can do things more efficiently, leaving more time for Tip #6. My weekday mornings typically start between 4:15 and 4:45 am, so most nights I aim to be in bed sometime between 9:30 and 10pm (9pm if I’m really on top of things). I realize that this schedule makes me a minority when it comes to 22 year olds, but mornings are when I function best. After having a few late-ish nights last week, the effects of too little sleep were beginning to hit me hard. The fix? Early to bed, consistently for 2-3 days. Works like a charm. 🙂
8. Take a day off.
Sometimes you just need one! It could be a day out off the office, a no-workout day if your body is screaming for it, or a day off from blogging. Last week I took a day off work and spent the majority of it away from my computer. Obviously most people can’t just decide to take a random day off whenever they want to, but I’ve noticed that extending the weekend by just one day has had a huge impact on my energy levels upon returning to work.
9. Find inspiration from somewhere new.
This is one of my favourite things about the blog world. There are hundreds and hundreds of blogs out there on virtually any topic and it’s amazing how they can inspire me instantly. For example, lately I’ve become a home organization junkie (hence Tip #4) and have been reading blogs like Simple Organized Living and I Heart Organizing, as well as scrolling through countless pins on Pinterest. These 3 sources have given me tons of ideas for projects around the house, like this one:
Reading new blogs is refreshing for me, considering that so much of my time is spent doing food and recipe-related reading. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it all, but the point is, sometimes a change is a great thing! If you’re not a blogger, this still applies. Try a new fitness class, take a new route to work, visit a new restaurant, listen to a different radio station… you get the idea!
10. Surround yourself with people that possess the traits you strive to have.
I’m not recommending that we try to be the same as our friends because that would make life supremely boring. Here’s an example of what I do mean: Say whatever rut you’re in has completely sucked the enthusiasm you had for going to the gym right out of you. By hanging out with a friend who is really keen to work out and has a very active lifestyle, some of that motivation can rub off on you and help you out of your rut. In my case, I wasn’t feeling as optimistic as I usually do. What did I do? I made some plans to see friends that make me laugh, that have positive attitudes, and that make me feel happy.
I didn’t consciously do all of these things at once because up until writing this post, my Top 10 list didn’t exist yet. Now that it’s published, I fully intend to refer back to it next time I’m feeling a little less than motivated. I know that my tips aren’t the only ones out there though, so today I want you to tell me…
What do you do to break out of a bad mood or a mental/emotional/physical rut?