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
23 responses to “Tips to Improve Your Well-being When Life Gets You Down”
These are great tips Christina and you certainly have been though a lot! I wish you well on your recovery. Thanks for sharing your experiences and ideas.
Hi Deb, thank you so much. I am getting better every day. I’ve got to remember not to do too much because I get tired a lot quicker but I can definitely see progress. Thanks for commenting, regards Christina
I’ve found working on creative hobbies quite beneficial to my wellbeing. Anime, comedies, and music are also good
Yes, I agree. Being creative is definitely beneficial to your wellbeing. Music is one of my favourite mood boosting things. Thanks for commenting, Regards Christina
Great tips! I love to listen to my fave music, put on a bit of make-up, and yes… spray my fave perfume. Reading inspiring books, trying a new recipe, and walking around the nearby park helps lift my spirit too.
I hope your surgery goes well may you’ll have a speedy recovery 🙂
Hi Fritzie, thanks so much for your kind wishes. I’m now a week post-op and it went very well. Still healing but I’m confident this will help. Those are great suggestions. I find since I’ve been blogging I haven’t read as many books but I really should make the time because I’ve always loved reading. Thank you so much for your comment, Regards Christina
All the best with your healing – you’ve certainly been through a lot. Some great tips in the post though – engaging all the senses is the best way to look at it. Walking outside is for me the best thing – or dancing around the kitchen to loud and daggy pop music. Take care.
Hi Jo, I love getting out into nature and music as well. Cooking while you sing along to old favourites is very uplifting. Thanks so much for commenting, Regards Christina
Hi Christina. That’s an interesting approach to improving well-being – so simple and yet … I’d never thought of it! I’m generally an upbeat and positive sort of person anyway but I do find that my mood is always lifted by spending time with my wife and my crazy Labrador Harvey, who always seems to be happy!
Hi Richie, I love spending time with my pets too. Our border collie Banjo is always so happy to spend time with us and always makes us laugh with his antics. Cuddling my cat is also lovely – she’s so affectionate. Thank you so much for commenting, regards Christina
Hi Christine, I think talking to a counsellor is a wonderful idea and unfortunately many of us feel intimidated by taking that step. It has been such a difficult year for everyone and especially for you with surgery on top of everything else. For me, going for a run keeps me sane and being near the ocean and nature helps me be present in the moment. Best wishes to you for your recovery. #lifethisweek xx
Hi Sue, yes the counsellor has definitely helped. Being near the ocean is wonderful – you’re lucky to be so close to it every day. I’m missing my daily walks at the moment because they take me near some beautiful waterways but hopefully I’ll be allowed to resume them soon. Thank you so much for your kind wishes, regards Christina
Hi Christina – I’m so glad you’re being intentional in your recovery and in finding comfort and happiness during these difficult days. I find that looking for the positives and the blessings that are hidden in each new day really helps me. If we focus on the good stuff, we see more of that, if we let the darker stuff take over then our mood drops and we’re more prone to comfort eating and lying on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves. I’ll take happiness over being dismal any day.
Hi Leanne, you are so true. Shifting our focus to the positives is so important in creating an optimistic outlook. That’s something I’m being challenged to do as time wears on. Talking to one of my loved ones is helping these days when I feel really down. They remind me what the big picture is, and that this stage of my life won’t last forever. I’m incredibly lucky to have such loving support around me. Thanks so much for commenting, regards Christina
Wishing you well for your surgery and recovery. Thank you for taking the time while you’re dealing with your health and sharing the positive wisdom in today’s post.
Catch up with you here soon!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It brightened my day! Regards, Christina
Thank you for all these wonderful tips! It sounds like you are taking an active role in your recovery. Very inspirational. 2020 has been a tough year for most of us, it is true, but there are many things we can do to care for ourselves.
Hi Laurie, thank you for your comment. I’m so glad my tips helped. I find it’s important to be proactive in your health, both physical and mental. Anything left for too long just grows into a bigger problem. Take care, regards Christina
I admire you stepping forward to improve your well being during this pandemic time and having a recent surgery. I understand that it is quite hard for others to make a step but we have to. We have a responsibility to take care of well being and thus the support comes in. I love that you highlighted the five senses. Thai massage works best for me to ease the stress and body pains too. Take care always!
Hi Vinn, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I agree, we have a responsibility to ourselves to improve our well being. We are our own best advocate. Massage is wonderful, isn’t it? I really miss the full body remedial massages that I usually get and can’t wait until I’m able to lie face down again. They’re awesome for getting rid of the aches and pains, and for relaxation as well. Regards, Christina
Oh dear, I am sorry you have had (or soon to have) more surgery. I really can empathise. My wound debridement and now VAC machine wearing to heal the wound has been going for over 3 weeks. I have had news today that I can drive again so I will get out into nature as it’s an important part of my mental health wellness.
Sending you all good vibes for a better and final recovery! Fingers crossed!
Thank you for linking up for life this week. Next week’s optional prompt is 37/51 Remembering Sydney 2000. 14.9.2020 Hope you link up Denyse.
Hi Denyse, that’s great news for you. My surgery was 12 days ago and it went without a hitch this time! I only had 2 nights in hospital and went home with the drain. That came out on Thursday. There’s been a massive improvement already but it’s still going to be a long road to full recovery. I can’t drive and can only use my right arm effectively. But the end is in sight! Thankyou so much for your lovely comment, all the best, Christina
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