Feeling low? You’re not alone.

Do you ever feel … low?

Low mood, low energy, low motivation, low self-esteem … all things low.

If that’s you sometimes, I know it’s a challenging time. It can seem as if it’s always going to be this way.

When you’re waiting for the breeze to blow the dark cloud away, but the air remains as still and heavy as a humid summer night, what to do?

Perhaps, like me, you’ve eaten through many lows over the years. Mine were mostly with ice-cream, chocolate and cake. 

Food offered an escape route to unconsciousness (a food hangover was often sleep), or a strange kind of comfort in a more tangible reason to be feeling bad (you thought you felt bad but didn’t know why—now this binge is a real reason to feel bad.)

Do you recognise that kind of low?

If so, you’re not alone. 

Here are some simple steps I’ve learned to use and that help. 

1. Let the self-judgement go

It’s almost certainly there—that little voice criticising you for feeling low or bad or sad.

  • “Come on, what’ve you got to whinge about? Snap out of it.”
  • “You’re a waste of space. What’s the point? Give up now.”

What does your voice say?

It’s likely a familiar refrain. Whatever it says, acknowledge it. Say, “hello.” 

Strange though it seems, the critical voice is almost certainly trying to help in its own way, even if its tactics are overly harsh.

It could be trying to help by,

  • urging change to move you out of pain, or
  • side-stepping the agony of another tender hope being crushed

Notice the voice. Acknowledge it and even let it be. Just because it’s talking loudly, doesn’t mean it’s right.

2. Scan your body

What’s going on in your body? 

Scan from head to toe and notice the sensations in each separate place.

Where do you feel most? Where do you feel least?

Do the sensations hold a silent message or request?

Perhaps for rest or movement, solitude or connection, a blanket or a comfortable pair of shoes.

If your body could do the talking, what might it be asking for?

3. Look out for glimmers of light

It doesn’t have to be much at all. Enough to peak your interest, create half a smile, or a moment of lightness.

  • a purring cat
  • the first sip of hot coffee
  • a patch of blue sky
  • freshly clean sheets
  • a text from a friend
  • a smile, a thank you, painted toenails, an invitation, a new favourite movie

Each tiny moment of enjoyment is a sign of life or hope.

Every single one makes a difference.

Collect them up, like shells on a beach.

To wrap up

Please remember, if you feel low or down, you’re not alone.

Be kind to yourself. As kind as you’d be to a precious friend, beloved pet or child.

Sometimes a low needs time to pass.

If you need help, reach out to someone who feels safe.

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