Life can be tough at times. Most of us spend our days running round incredibly busy- and have to juggle everything from work, school, family, hobbies, bills and a social life. It’s so easy to get burned out leaving you feeling ill, tired and down as a result. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been feeling this way recently, thankfully there are ways you can get out of a funk and set yourself up for a bright and happier future. Here’s what you need to do!
Get Enough Sleep
We all know how much sleep can influence our mood, all it takes is one bad night’s sleep to notice that. When you’re sleep deprived it leaves you feeling irritable, teary, and due to hormone levels being disrupted it can even make you hungrier and more prone to overeating. In the long term, lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. We all feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes, we lead busy lives and sleep can sometimes take a back seat. But one of the best things you can do for your health and your mood is to set a sleep schedule and stick to it. You want to aim to get at least seven hours a night, so you might need to adjust your evening routine for this. Don’t drink caffeine after midday since it can stay in the body for a long time, and avoid screens and technology for an hour before bed. Instead, have a hot bath and relax with a traditional paper book with a cup of soothing green tea. If you invest in a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, this will monitor your sleep levels and let you know exactly how much you’re getting. Better still, it shows you how much light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep you’re achieving each night, and how many times you woke up. If your results aren’t great, you could try adjusting a few things. For example, if you’re getting woken up early every morning due to the sunlight coming through your window, you could invest in some good blackout blinds.
The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is so true. Fuel your body on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein, and you will provide it with everything it needs to run efficiently. When your body has everything it needs you will feel healthy and energised, it’s when you’re low on certain nutrients that you feel ill effects. Being low in iron or anaemic for example can leave you feeling tired and weak. Being low in vitamin B12 can leave you tired and weak with heart palpitations and pale skin. Other vitamin deficiencies can lead to poor digestion, hair loss, brittle nails and other serious problems over time. Fix up your diet, aim to eat at least seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day- in fact the majority of each of your meals should be made up of this. You can always treat yourself to a little something that you fancy now and again, as long as you eat well the majority of the time you shouldn’t suffer weight gain or any adverse effects. If you use a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal, you will be able to see exactly how many calories, grams of fat, carbohydrates, protein, salt and everything else you’re consuming. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of food we eat, so by doing this you know exactly what you’re getting and where you can make improvements if needed. Some foods are natural mood boosters, so if this is something that you want to improve be sure to add oily fish, saffron, coconut, turkey, oats and Brazil nuts amongst other things to your diet.
Get Hormones Under Control
Hormones play a massive part in the way we think, feel and behave. We’ve all experienced the tiredness, low mood and brain fog that comes about with PMT, this goes to show what a powerful effect they can have on the body. Sometimes disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome can cause an imbalance of hormones, leading to symptoms like excessive face and body hair growth, balding on the crown of the head, acne, weight gain and mood swings. It’s a common disorder, so if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms (even mildly), then it’s worth speaking to your GP. Even if you don’t have a hormone imbalance, the natural fluctuation of hormones in the body can cause mood and emotion changes. One way you can get around this is by using a form of hormonal contraception. While these can take a couple of months to ‘balance out’ in the body, eventually you will start feeling a lot better. There are many forms of contraception pill available, as well as emergency contraception (if you’ve had a mishap) there are also methods such as the pill or minipill to be taken long term. You could have an implant fitted, have the contraceptive injection or a coil. These of course also have the benefit of protecting against pregnancy, although they won’t protect from disease so be sure to use a barrier method too if needed.
Finally, no matter what you do, there are always going to times of stress in life. Perhaps it’s work or family matters. Maybe you’re preparing for exams or a driving test. Maybe a few things all go wrong at the same time- life has a funny way of doing that. Stressful life events can always be expected at one time or another, so you need to have good ways of dealing with them when they crop up. Maybe sweating it out at the gym always makes you feel better? Perhaps having a hot bath, or going for a massage always relieves your stress. It could be popping round to see a friend for a glass or wine, a cup of tea or a slice of cake and a chat! Having friends and family members to rely on can be really helpful, getting a problem off your chest can help tremendously and others can help you to see your problems from another perspective.