A few weeks ago I hit a wall and got in a bit of a funk. I noticed I was more irritable than normal, my energy was low, and I wasn’t sleeping well. After sitting with it for a week or two I started to try to figure out what was going on and realized I had this attitude of impending doom about entering the winter season and continuing to quarantine. I was grappling with the fact that Covid-19 wasn’t going anywhere and soon my outdoor activities were about to get extremely limited. It was a feeling like a second lockdown was on the horizon and things were about to get really hard. And finally, if I’m being honest, the upcoming presidential election was piling on a layer of anxiety as well. I needed to take control of things before this “funk” went into something like full-blown depression so I got busy taking care of myself. And you know what? Within a week I was feeling worlds better than I had the whole month of September. Now let me be clear, this is not a plan to deal with depression, these are simple strategies to boost our moods during stressful times. If you feel like you are experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms, it’s important to find a mental health professional to work with.
Here is what I did to take control of my quarantine mood:
1) Moved my body
I realized I hadn’t used my exercise equipment in almost a month. It’s a vicious cycle-when you feel bummed out you don’t want to exercise but the exercise helps you feel better. With all the zoom meetings I’m moving less so I walk around my room if I’m on a call or do a few lunges during a break to get my body moving. And an outdoor walk during the brisk fall weather is a whole mood reset!
2) Expressed gratitude every day
There is a lot of research that shows daily gratitude is one habit of consistently happy people. A gratitude journal or a spot in your planner each day is a way to keep yourself accountable. For me, each night I lay in bed and mentally list all the things I am grateful and anything particularly wonderful that happened that day.
3) Upped the greens
You don’t need me to tell you this but eat some veggies! For me, what I eat tends to really correlate with my mood and my overall sense of well being. I love me some green smoothies and kale salads but eat whatever colorful veggies sound good to you. We can’t expect to feel our best if we aren’t giving our body what it needs to produce all those feel-good hormones.
4) Connected with others
This has been a bit tricky due to Covid-19 but finding ways to safely socially distance with friends has done wonders for me. Not everyone is going to feel the same level of comfort with social activities but we’ve done things like have an outdoor bonfire where people bring their own drinks, meet a friend for coffee outside, go for a walk with a friend outside, or have a zoom game night with other couples once the kids go to bed.
5) Cut back on social media
Have you watched “the social dilemma” on Netflix? If not, I encourage you to take a peek at it because it really hit home how much screen impact us socially. I also noticed that the more down I felt the more I continuously scrolled on social media. I challenge myself to leave my phone in the other room and only check it from time to time. If I check myself continuously scrolling, I put the phone down and walk away.
6) Took my vitamins
This is unique to every individual but for me, a combination of magnesium, Vitamin D-3, and B-12 helps me feel my best. Magnesium calm is something I’ve been taking for years and helps tremendously with sleep and stress relief when taken daily. D-3 and B-12 were recommended to me by my endocrinologist to help with overall energy levels as well. Talk to your doctor and see what works for you.
7) Meditated every day
Ok I’ll be honest I don’t meditate every day but I make an effort. Meditation doesn’t have to be done for an hour in a perfectly quiet room with essential oils. It can be a 5-minute meditation with an app before you hop on a call. It can be as simple as sitting in silence on your patio for a few minutes and notice the sights and sounds.