1) Sleep. A non-negotiable. Lack of sleep will jack you up emotionally. Everything will go from an emotional two to an eight. Compensating with caffeine will bring anxiousness and edginess. Shoot for seven to eight hours. 10:00pm bedtime!
2) Exercise. Make the time. It’s that important. Shoot for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Brisk walks, treadmill, elliptical, jumping jacks, body squats, burpees, etc. And lots of stretching. You can find many exercise/workout routines on Youtube. Yogalates is a great option! My faves are here and here.
3) Drink lots of water. Water purges and cleanses your system. When you are dehydrated you have food cravings and you feel terrible. Think 8 x 8. Eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day (half-gallon).
4) Fast from social media. Especially when slipping into a funk. You’ll be tempted to compare yourself with others who seem put-together, happy, smart, fit, and on and on. Don’t do that to yourself! Take a break. If anything only look at social media with positive messages, inspirational quotes, and Scripture verses.
5) Avoid the news. Avoid like a stomach virus. Much of the news feeds fear and outrage. Disengage for your mental, emotional, and spiritual health’s sake.
6) Beware of sugar. Cookies, fruit drinks, soda, cakes, pies, candy, and so forth. I love all that poison. Sugar can reek havoc not only on your body but especially your emotional and mental health. I read somewhere that 25 grams is the daily allotted amount. A 16oz. coke has 52g alone! Also beware of too many carbs (breads) because it turns into sugar. Save it for the actual holidays.
7) Commit to devotional time with the Lord. Again, you make time for what’s important. And if you are slipping into the blues, you’ll begin to let this slip. You need quiet time and space to read Scripture, pray, self-examine, repent, journal (if you are into that), and the like. Here is what I do for my heart everyday.
8) Get some sunlight. At least 20 minutes a day, four to five times per week. If in the dark wintry Northeast, perhaps invest in a Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy Light. I use this one. Take daily Vitamin D.
9) Don’t isolate yourself. When the emotional fog rolls in you will be tempted to isolate yourself from others. Don’t do it. Force yourself to connect with friends by phone, for coffee, for a meal. Also, serve someone… even anonymously. All of this gets you out of your head and out of yourself.
10) Get help. Talk to a pastor. Go see a doctor. Get counseling from a Christian psychotherapist. Perhaps there are deeper underlying issues going on. Perhaps you need medication to weather the tough season you are experiencing. Don’t put it off or tough it out. Get help.