Tips for Managing Low Mood
Here you'll find tips and tools you can use to build skills and develop ways to manage your mood.
Notice thoughts that feed depression.
Remind yourself that these are just thoughts, not facts. (Is that true? What proof do I have? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?) For others, just noticing negative and self-critical thoughts, without getting too attached to them is helpful.
Relax your mind and body.
It’s hard to relax when you are feeling down. Try mindfulness, listening to your favourite playlist, watching funny videos, cuddling your pet, or dancing in your room. Do what relaxes you, whatever it is. Check out the Breathr app for an introduction to mindfulness.
Start a journal.
Writing down your thoughts can help you understand how you’ve been feeling and give you some perspective. Some people find it is helpful to focus on positives. For example, writing down one thing each day that you are grateful for, can help challenge the depression thoughts.
Let your muscles do the work.
Being active offers time away from worries and makes you focus on what you’re doing. Physical activity doesn’t have to be about going to the gym. Get off the bus a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. Think about becoming a dog walker or friend a friend who likes to go for walks. Join a dance class or sports team. It’s always easier when it’s fun. If you like to set goals, that can be a helpful way to get started whether the goals are large or small. Try keeping track of your goals in Habitbull.
Take time for things you enjoy.
Sometimes there’s not much time left for what you enjoy between school, work and scheduled sports. Try to find some time for you – whether it’s reading, gardening, colouring, listening to music, taking the dog for a walk, playing a video game or watching the sunset.
Spend time with family and friends.
Feeling depressed can make you want to avoid everyone. But spending a lot of time alone in your room can make you feel worse. Hanging out with people you care about can give your mood a boost, especially if you’re able to let them know how you’re feeling.
Talk to someone you trust.
It can be helpful to talk through what’s going on for you with a friend, family member, teacher, coach or someone who has been there like a Peer Support worker. Not sure where to start? Check out our Tips for Talking with Someone and 8 Easy Tips for Venting to Friends.
Help yourself to a good night of sleep.
Lack of sleep can add to a depressed mood and make you feel tired and irritable. In turn, a depressed mood can affect your sleep. Check out How to get a good night’s sleep.
Avoid sugar crashes.
Eating a healthy diet, at regular meals (think breakfast) can help with your energy and your mood. Some foods, like salmon and other foods high in omegas 3’s have mood-boosting properties. Junk food can give you a quick energy burst, but then you often feel worse after.
Spend time in nature.
Getting outside and into nature can be calming and help with your mood. Go for a walk and focus on what you see and hear. It can help get you “out of your head” and give you a break from worries and depressive thoughts.
Think of other alternatives to alcohol or other substances as a coping strategy.
Having a drink or using substances can seem like a quick fix, but may come with side effects like anxiety and increased depressed mood. It’s important to learn new ways of of coping strategies, such as the ones listed above, that you can use when things get tough.
For more self-care options check out the Apps & Tools section. Sometimes help from a professional is needed, check out the Get Support section.