I’ve had some major backsliding going on lately. My new job duties have stressed me out tremendously, and I’ve had trouble sleeping. My fitness has declined in just one month, as I’ve been more inclined to drink a few beers to unwind rather than go for a run. I’m not really proud of that, because alcohol has primarily made me feel worse, especially since I already quit drinking before!
So today as I sat around feeling lousy, I realized that I needed to be proactive to changing my mood. So here are some things I’m going to try to help improve my sense of well being and mood:
1. Go back to good deeds and volunteering.
I used to volunteer at the SPCA walking dogs for over two years, but I got burnt out and just stopped going. I really loved helping out though, and I know that even though it made me upset sometimes, there were plenty of success stories as well.
But- I don’t have to give all of my extra time to one particular organization. There are nursing homes, community projects, schools, and more that can use volunteers. So I’m going to be on the lookout for ways I can help. Giving to others always makes you feel good- try it!
2. Try to let go of negativity.
I don’t really know how to overcome my extreme bouts of anxiety yet, but my first step is to remind myself that I’m not really in control of anything. I’ll do the best I can at my job, and stop worrying about things that are beyond my control.
3. Exercise more.
I don’t think I realized how important exercise was to me until I slacked off. I was running between 8-10 miles at a time, three days a week, and doing regular weights and strength training on off days.
When my stress levels started to rise, I was too strung out to make time to workout, and it got worse each day. Exercise can improve your mood greatly, and even moderate workouts can release endorphins (the feel-good chemicals released by brain in response to physical activity).
4. Get better sleep.
I sleep more poorly because I’ve been stressed. Stress has caused me to drink, which in turn has ruined my sleep patterns. I wake up late because I don’t sleep well, so I don’t get breakfast. Not eating breakfast makes my morning at work even more stressful because I’m hungry… you see the pattern here?
I think that fixing my workout routines, I will be able to correct the other problems. I may even have to get used to double workouts: a harder intense workout in the evening (like long runs), and shorter workouts in the morning to get the blood flowing and get me moving.
5. Be thankful for all that’s great in my life.
I have a great family, wife, two lovable dogs, and good friends. I need to remind myself that they’re the most important parts of my life and stop letting my job consume all of my time. I’m going to try and do something extra nice for those that I love as much as I can.
What about you- do you have any ways you improve your mood?