Prevent and deal with low moods
It's normal to have days where you feel down or in low mood. Isolating or working from home for prolonged periods could make these feelings stronger.
When your mood is low, finding motivation to do things can be challenging and we tend to do less, getting into a negative cycle; the less we do, the less we want to do, the worse our mood gets. In order to break this cycle and feel better, we are encouraged to do more activities, socialise more, get fresh air, exercise and find new hobbies. Some of these activities we are now restricted with. So, what could you do instead?
Connect with people
Being isolated and stuck inside can cause low mood in anyone. As a species we are social creatures and thrive on interactions with people.
Connect with people as much as you can by phone, video app, or social media. Again, be mindful that you are positively connecting with people and information.
Reduce social media time if it's adding to your feeling of low mood.
Read the Connect section of the 5 ways to wellbeing.
Even though you can only go outside once a day, there are plenty of things to keep you occupied that can be done in the home. Keeping busy can help you feel productive which gives you a sense of purpose and wellbeing, and it allows less time for focusing on how low you feel.
Make a list of 10 things you could do at home, like hobbies, work or decorating that will give you a sense of purpose.
Read through these 5 ways to wellbeing sections for more tips:
Create a routine
Stick to existing routines where possible. Go to bed and get up at your normal time, get dressed and try to eat at your normal mealtimes.
Read the working from home section of our toolkit to explore how to get the best out of it.
Avoid unhelpful behaviours
When we feel low, we can often default to behaviours that make us feel worse, and these are an easy pattern to fall into when isolated at home.
Activities like staying in your pyjamas all day, watching a lot of TV, doing no exercise or drinking more alcohol can all add to low mood if done regularly. Do you do any of these? What could you try and stop?
Try to get some time outside every day; we're allowed out once a day after all! Ideally incorporate some exercise, but just sitting outside with a cuppa if you are lucky enough to have a garden can help your mood. If you don’t have a garden, opening your window can give you a welcome breath of fresh air.
Restrict your reading about coronavirus
It's good to stay informed, but too much information or stories that make the situation worse can increase your feeling of low mood. Stick to respected sources such as the BBC and limit how often you read information.
It's simple, but often the thing we put last. Take care of yourself! Make a list of nice things you can do for yourself whilst at home and try to do one each day. Have that relaxing bath, read that book, binge that TV boxset…you’re important too. Ultimately, be gentle with yourself too. It is a difficult time, but it will come to an end.
Other ways for you to improve your feelings of low mood
Our own employee wellbeing offer
Dorset Council offers a talking therapy package, including cognitive behaviour therapy. Don’t forget, for wellbeing advice and guidance, whether as an individual, manager or colleague:
Mental Health First Aid Champions
Many people within Dorset Council have been trained in Mental Health First Aid. As a first port of call these champions can support anyone struggling with their mental health by providing a confidential listening ear and signposting to the appropriate support, both in and outside of the workplace.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call 0300 123 5440 Connections Help Line orvisit the Dorset Healthcare website.
At times of emotional distress it's common to experience thoughts about harm to yourself or to or from others. If you have experienced thoughts like this, it’s important to act. Contacting your GP is advisable in the first instance.
Alternatively, the Samaritans offer a 24 hour listening service, free from any phone: 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NHS have:
Mental health support from other organisations
Read the guidance on looking after your mental health during coronavirus outbreak from the Mental Health Foundation.
Find useful advice on self-care and managing depression from The Blurt Foundation.
Follow this free 8 week course to help you overcome low mood from Living Life to the Full.