Do you ever wake up just feeling off? Do you tend to feel irritated, bored, or uncomfortable in your skin, in certain situations, or with certain people? Bad moods can happen as a result of a big event – getting fired or hearing other news you didn’t want to hear – or they can be in effect for no apparent reason when you start your day.
For people in recovery, no bad mood is a small thing. Feelings often happen on a grand scale, especially in the first few months of sobriety. It is normal to feel like the current mood is going to prevail forever with no escape. For this reason, a bad mood can be a trigger for relapse. The good news is that there are countless things you can do to change how you are feeling and improve your mood right now. Here are just a few to get you started.
- Turn off social media. While there are some positive aspects of staying connected with others on social media – like finding out what outfits Aunt Sable’s dog is wearing today – if you are struggling with mood management, social media very rarely will lift your spirits. Too often, those who spend a great deal of time on social media end up “life comparing” and feeling depressed as a result. Looking at the best moments that people post on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter can easily make the viewer feel jealous at best, and bitter and defeated at worst. One can start to believe that everyone else’s life is ideal and that, by comparison, their own is a mess. The fact is, of course, that people usually cherry-pick their happiest and brightest moments to share on social media platforms, and it is far from a true representation of what their overall life is like. Escape the doldrums brought on by social media use by unplugging for a little while. If you find it hard to avoid the notifications and constant updates on your phone, turn your phone off and connect with the people around you.
- Turn on some music. What music immediately changes your mood, making you feel peaceful, pumped up, or relaxed? Create playlists that are guaranteed to alter your mood and make you feel better when you feel angry, depressed, or frustrated. Be ready to press play when things begin to go downhill.
- Call a good friend. There is nothing better than someone you trust telling you that whatever you are facing is going to be okay. This too shall pass, you are a strong person, and you will make it no matter what comes your way. Even if you know this deep inside, it is good to hear someone you trust and respect say it out loud, and then distract you with a funny story or things that are going on in their life.
- Change your surroundings. If you’re inside, head outside, and if you have been outside for a little while, head in. Sometimes, just changing what you are looking at, the people around you, and the atmosphere can completely shift your mood and give you a break from the negative stimuli that may be pinning you down.
- Have a snack. Too often, not enough food or unhealthy food can contribute to a general sense of distress or irritability. The best way to remedy that? A snack. Eat something high in protein and good fats – a snack that will be satisfying to eat, fill you up, and keep you going. Greek yogurt with fruit, half an avocado stuffed with quinoa and black beans, or a handful of mixed nuts and chocolate pieces can help you to feel more like yourself in no time.
- Power nap. If it seems like the negativity is winning, try taking a quick snooze and reviving your energy. Whether you opt to shut your eyes for 10, 20, or 30 minutes, make sure you don’t turn in for too long or you might wake up feeling worse than when you fell asleep.
- Watch something funny. YouTube or Netflix are readily available, offering ton of options from long comedy specials to short clips of hilarity. A good laugh can shake you out of bad mood. Have your favorite comedians bookmarked, or check in with new up-and-coming comedians to hear some jokes you’ve never heard before.
What Do You Think?
When you are feeling out of sorts, what are your “go to” moves that help you break out of a bad mood before it becomes overwhelming? When your mood triggers cravings for drugs or alcohol, how do you get things in check and avoid relapse?