Battling the Sunday Blues
The word depression often gets thrown around to describe a low mood. There are clinical ways to determine if someone can be formally diagnosed with depression, and depending on the person and the severity of it, there is a range of ways to address depression from supplements and exercise, to talk therapy, to prescription medication.
But what about the low moods we find ourselves in when we don’t think it requires seeking out a therapist or medication? You know exactly what I’m talking about because we all have them. It is part of the human experience to have a variety of emotions, and when an emotion sticks around too long, we find ourselves in a certain “mood.” Feeling depressed can be caused by life circumstances such as a day where everything seems to go wrong, a recent breakup, financial problems, a family member with health issues, or even Sunday evenings before starting a new workweek.
But it’s important to note that sometimes feeling low can seemingly come out of nowhere, and that is also normal. Just because you’re in a satisfying relationship and working your dream job doesn’t mean you are immune to feeling depressed. And when there is no identifiable reason for feeling depressed you may wonder if there is something wrong with you because there is no logical explanation. This can also make it harder to talk about how you’re feeling or seek support, and if you do, you may not be taken seriously.
Even if it externally appears you have no reason to be unhappy, there is always a reason. Our moods are affected by everything from our hormones, to chemicals in our brain, to what we eat, to subconscious beliefs, to the thoughts we are thinking. In addition, in my experience I have found that a lack of meaning or greater purpose in one’s life, even when everything appears “right,” is a common reason for feeling depressed. But often we are not aware of this void in our lives until we seek help.
If you find yourself feeling low, here are some things to try today:
Exercise: Go for a walk or exercise, the oxygen, change of scenery, and endorphins can help.
Call a friend or family member. Isolation is depression’s best friend.
Cuddle your pet. This always releases feel-good hormones.
Gratitude: Make a gratitude list or say the things you are grateful for out loud. Gratitude is a powerful emotion because you cannot be focusing on what you are grateful for, and feel angry or sad at the same time. The more depressed you are, the harder gratitude will be, but find what you can, even if it is the fact that you have a roof over your head, because gratitude is the antidote to despair. You can also try writing a list of things to look forward to, whether it’s the pizza being delivered in 10 minutes, or the three-day weekend coming up next month.
Notice your thoughts, it is usually what we are thinking more than what we are experiencing which effects our mood. Are your thoughts negative and depressing? If so, try to challenge them or reframe them. Just because you have a thought does not mean it is true.
Journal your feelings. It always amazes me how much writing our feelings can help to release them, and also give us perspective on them. This may also help you to cry, which is another helpful physical release of emotional energy.
If you find that these tips aren’t working as well as you’d like, or that your mood is lasting too long or getting worse with time, I suggest reaching out to a therapist who can offer you more help in understanding and alleviating your suffering. Feel free to contact me at Alyssa@AlyssaRand.com with any questions.