Life is Getting Us Down in 2020
This year I’ve noticed many more people talking about how they’re feeling demotivated, distressed, fed-up and down in the dumps. Many people have begun to let their healthy diet and exercise routines slide, and their waistline expand. The affects of the global pandemic on our well-being are really starting to become apparent as it drags on with no end in sight. The uncertainty, isolation and risks to our health and lifestyle are all factors in causing this decrease in our state of well-being.
Our well-being won’t just miraculously improve if we don’t make an effort to change our routines. We have to work at it because it’s all too easy to be lazy and get into bad habits. Frequently people get into a rut and can’t see any end to their current situation. It’s as if a black cloud is over their head. A few down days can lead to depression.
Clinical depression needs to be treated by health care professionals such as psychologists and medical doctors. (I am not a trained professional in these fields. Please refer to my disclaimer. This article should be used for informational purposes only). I’m not talking about depression in this article, rather the low mood that many of us are experiencing due to the current pandemic. If your mood has not improved after a few weeks, please seek professional help.
How I’m Working on Improving My Well-being
I talked recently about how my long recovery from surgery has been affecting my well-being. As time drags on and I’m still not well enough to go back to work, I’ve had days where I feel really down in the dumps. What have I been doing to help myself deal with these feelings?
I’ve had to be proactive and work at maintaining my mental health. My tendency to shut down and go into a shell, wallowing in misery, didn’t work for me in the past. Over time I’ve found there are activities I can do to improve my mood.
How to Use All 5 Senses to Improve Your Well-being When Life Is Getting You Down
You can use all five senses to improve your mood and your well-being. For example, who can deny that the fresh whiff of coffee in the morning doesn’t immediately heighten your sense of smell? Or that a warm hug from someone you love doesn’t make you feel calmer and happier? I am a very sensory person, and I’ve found the following have helped:
- TOUCH: I had a massage. I normally have a remedial full body massage but I still can’t lie on my front so I had a sitting massage instead. To make the most of it I used deep breathing techniques to relax my muscles. These tiny Thai masseurs are so strong, you feel like you’ve done 3 rounds with a sumo wrestler! But it works.
- SOUND: Listening to uplifting music. I was born in the 60s so I love 70s and 80s music. I can sing as loud as I like to my favourite hits and it’s always a mood booster.
- SMELL: A splash of my favourite perfume lifts my spirits. I don’t save my scent for special occasions. I use it daily because it makes me feel better to smell nice. Using scented candles and reed diffusers has also helped.
- SIGHT: Taking time to watch the sunset, or admire a beautiful scene is uplifting. While I’m out walking my dog every day I take time to look at my surroundings. I’m lucky to live where I have lovely parks and waterways nearby. My dog’s a social butterfly so we end up meeting lots of dogs and their owners. It’s nice to say hello or stop and chat if they’re up for it.
- TASTE: I’ve done lots of cooking. It’s starting to show as the weight’s starting to creep up. Only 1kg but since I lost 17kg last year I’m very wary of gaining any weight. So I’ve gone back to basics and getting back on a healthy diet. It’s easy to grab convenience food when you’re feeling low, but taking the effort to prepare fresh food will boost your mood. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats will make you feel more energised.
Other Ways I’m Boosting My Mood
Sometimes we have to push ourselves to be proactive in improving our well-being. I know what depression is like and it’s easy for me to slide into that state of mind. Rather than just allowing myself to stay in a rut, I push myself to do activities that I know will boost my mood.
I credit my improved sense of well-being to the following:
- Putting a bit of make-up on every day. Then I don’t feel so daggy.
- I’ve had a couple of phone sessions with a counsellor. Getting the perspective of an impartial person about my long recovery time has really helped. My takeaway from the sessions – I’ve been looking after everyone else for the last 30 plus years so it’s time to look after myself. And let others look after me (which I find hard to do).
- I’ve been spending time socialising. My nature is an introverted homebody so I tend to stay home where I’m in my comfort zone. I know that the most uplifting activity for me is having meaningful conversations with people. So I make an effort to meet someone to talk over coffee or a meal. Phoning them is the next best thing. It improves my well-being so much.
- I’ve been de-cluttering and tidying. Just one area of the house at a time. There’s nothing better than a good cleanout! I can’t do too much housework because it increases the pain and swelling, so I just do a little bit every day.
- I’ve been spending time in my garden every day. Spring is upon us in Australia and the spring growth has begun. It’s been a very long winter because time has dragged by for me and I’m really looking forward to warmer weather. We’re lucky to have a pond with fountains in our garden. The sound of cascading water is music to my soul.
What ways do you use to improve your well-being? Share them here so others can benefit.
Just a head’s up, I saw my surgeon a couple of days ago, and because my swelling and pain are ongoing he’s going to operate again on Monday. I’ll be in hospital for a few days and have a drain for a few weeks. While I’m in hospital I won’t be allowed visitors which will be horrible. Not having the support of my family will be really hard but I know this is necessary to assist my healing and prevent further complications.
Because of this, I may be a bit inconsistent with my blog for the next few weeks.
shared on Life this Week, a linkup by Denyse Whelan