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How To Boost Your Mood During The Pandemic

Mary-Lauren O’Crowley, MA, NCC

Since the start of the pandemic, many of us have found ourselves in the same cart as the roller coaster of emotions barrels rapidly and relentlessly through the air and back down to earth, over and over again, feeling an overwhelming sense of powerlessness to stop or even slow its course. Whether fueled by fears for our health and safety, exhaustion from a lack of routine, or sadness over loss of connection, lowered mood can leave us feeling unmotivated and even hopeless. While there may be days where it feels as if the pandemic is never ending, we can implement simple techniques so that our mood does not have to be.

Give yourself permission to not feel okay  

Often, we find ourselves denying or actively trying to change our current emotional state, particularly when it feels uncomfortable. When we tell our loved ones that we feel “fine” despite carrying around heavy hearts, or we jump into baking or working out or scrolling through social media to distract us from our internal distress, we are not giving ourselves permission, and thus the space, to process how we feel. One of my favorite pieces of advice for clients is, “you have to feel it to heal it.” Life can be incredibly difficult and it is human to grieve in those moments. Allow yourself the time and space to talk through, vent, write, or cry and watch how your mood shifts. 

Exercise 

Exercise is one of the quickest and most effective ways to get a mood boost. Moderate exercise releases feelgood chemicals in the brain, thereby increasing energy levels and overall mood. If you struggle to commit to a workout routine due to time or level of enjoyment, find something that interests you, whether it be dancing, power walking, barre, or biking, and with as little as 30 minutes 5x a week, you can experience a vast improvement. 

Help others 

Research has shown that we derive pleasure from encouraging and supporting others. Call a friend or family member, donate to a cause, write a “thank you” letter, or volunteer for an organization in the community. When we lend a hand, we help others feel better while also feeling better ourselves. 

Show Gratitude 

Instead of spending too much time ruminating on what has gone wrong, make a conscious effort to show gratitude for whatever or whomever it is that you value most. Dedicate a few minutes each day to writing down or speaking about a few things you are grateful for.

Self Care

While we cannot always control our external circumstances, we can take measures to keep our internal emotional state more balanced. Self care is a relatively simple way to restore and recharge. Practice deep breathing, try meditation, take a yoga class, or get a massage. When we take care of ourselves, we are more equipped to care for those around us.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by the coronavirus and would like to talk to a professional counselor in Chicago, please contact Symmetry Counseling at (312) 578-9990 or explore our website to schedule a consultation with one of our licensed therapists.

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