Tips to combat low summer mood
Summer is the time when many people feel at their best, mood wise. So if you’re not jumping around for joy at this time of year it could also make you feel isolated, because while you’re feeling down everyone else seems to be having the time of their lives.
But just because the sun’s out, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel fed up. You may, for instance, be having problems with your relationships or experiencing things like financial difficulties, job insecurity or even illness and pain. If you’re not getting enough sleep your mood can also be affected. And sometimes you may also feel low for no reason at all.
If you feel down for more than a couple of weeks it’s worth asking your GP for help. In the meantime there are lots of things you can do to help yourself and start enjoying the summer more, including the following:
Stay active Regular exercise is essential for good physical health, but it can help boost your mental health too. That’s because being physically active helps your brain to produce feel-good chemicals that can offset a low mood.
To stay healthy, try to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start slowly and work up to 150 minutes. You could also ask your GP about the exercise on prescription programme, where exercise is prescribed as a treatment for a range of conditions, including depression.
Open up to someone Talking about your problems may help you recover from a low mood as well as cope better with stress. Try talking to someone you trust about what’s getting you down, or join a support group (visit the Mind website for information about support groups in your area). You could also ask your GP about local depression support groups. Or if going to a group sounds a bit daunting, try using an online resource where you can read about other people who are facing similar problems, such as the Sane website.
Keep confident Avoiding things you find difficult – such as talking to other people or even driving – may seem like the best option when you’re feeling low. But if you don’t stand up to the things that scare you, they could seem even more intimidating the next time you’re confronted with them. Try facing your fears – whatever those fears may be – and they may soon start to fade.
Avoid chemical crutches When you feel down, you may believe having a drink or smoking will make you feel better. However, according to the NHS, cigarettes, recreational drugs and alcohol all make things worse in the long run.
If you need help giving up smoking, ask your local Careway pharmacist about stop smoking support and products. And if you’re not sure whether or not you’re drinking too much, try the Drinkaware self-assessment test, which can also help you understand more about the impact of your drinking and whether or not you need to take action.
Take control Eating a healthy diet and getting a regular good night’s sleep can often help you feel more in control and more able to cope. You could also try practising self-help techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises, or try reading self-help books or taking part in online counselling, all of which may be more effective than you’d think.
Get into a routine Last but by no means least, try to make a habit of going to bed and getting up at your normal time, and make sure you get around seven to eight hours sleep every night. Try to stick to your regular meal times too.
Need more help with a low mood problem? If for any reason it’s difficult to see your GP, your local Careway pharmacist can give you advice. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.