If you're feeling low or you constantly have a low level of anxiety humming within you, it can be easy to accept that this is the way you’ll always feel.
You might worry that there’s ‘something wrong’ with you because you don’t have the same reactions to things that your friends have or just get the sense that life should be better.
Here’s the thing – it should be better. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that something drastic needs to be done to fix it. You might be surprised to learn that a few small changes could have a significant effect on your mood.*
1. You’re not getting enough sleep
Sleep is one of the great pillars of wellbeing but the important thing to focus on is quality, not quantity.
Studies have shown that too little sleep or too much sleep can lead to an increase in depressive symptoms. The optimal amount to sleep is between 7-9 hours each night and a regular bedtime routine, including no screens in the bedroom, will ensure you get the best sleep possible.
2. You’re not eating enough raw fruit and vegetables
Today’s fast food culture means that we are eating more processed food than ever before. It’s quick, it’s tasty, it’s easy to assemble but unfortunately, it’s causing havoc with our digestive systems and subsequently, our physical, emotional and gut health.
Gut health is directly linked to our mental health because microbes in the gut produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which regulate our mood and emotions.
According to nutritional experts, those who eat five servings or raw fruit or veg each day have the highest rates of wellbeing while those who eat less than two are more likely to report feelings of depression.
3. You’re not exercising enough
There are so many health benefits to exercising, it’s hard to know where to start!
Doing regular exercise reduces depression, anxiety and low mood by releasing endorphins which make you feel good. It helps you to relax, improves memory and focus, promotes a sense of wellbeing and results in better quality sleep.
Get outside for a walk or run for 30 minutes every day and see how you feel!
*If you make these changes in your life and still feel upset or low, tell a trusted adult and they will help you find the support you need.
You can also contact Childline at any time, day or night, for a free and confidential chat about whatever’s on your mind. Call 1800 66 66 66, text 50101 or live chat on childline.ie.