Lucy Mowatt is the founder of Norwich-based marketing agency, Method Marketing. In this blog, she explores how hindsight helps her to stay on top of low moods and depression.
Looking back, I’ve struggled with low moods, depression and anxiety for much of my life. They’re not constant and I’m not always conscious of them, but they’ve all made regular appearances over the years.
And, with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve been able to see that. And learn from it. Now that I’m in my late 30s, I can learn from my experiences and take action early.
Learning from myself
As I get older, I’m able to spot the patterns in my behaviour and lifestyle that can lead to low mood and depression.
I know that running is one of the most powerful tools for lifting my mood. Even if the thought of putting on my trainers fills me with dread, I know that once I’m moving, even for a few minutes, my mood will start to improve. The endorphins will start to flow and I’ll feel better by the time I sit down again.
What works for me: Doing 30 minutes of cardio 4 times per week.
Lack of sleep is always a contributing factor for me. Looking back over my periods of low mood, they typically coincide with me trying to do too much. My diary is too full and I’m not getting 8 hours a night.
What works for me: Having a consistent sleep schedule, where I prepare for bed at the same time each night. I meditate or listen to white noise if my mind is racing.
On that subject, gratitude meditations and mindfulness have been a great help. As a business owner, I find that my mind often runs away with itself. I’ll be buzzing with new ideas and possibilities, but it means I’m not present and enjoying the moment, which is pretty tiring.
What works for me: I practice mindfulness and meditation almost daily, making a note of the things that I’m grateful for every night before bed. I use the Headspace app because I’m not able to meditate without guidance yet!
I’ve also learned that alcohol is a depressant. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to accept that drink has a negative effect on my mood. While it used to make me sad that I couldn’t drink like my friends, these days, I’m glad that I never have a hangover or a low mood for the following week!
What works for me: I have a two drink limit and mix it up with interesting soft drinks.
Learning from others
I’ve not just learned from myself. Other people have helped me on my journey. I’m lucky enough to have a supportive husband, loving family and a network of trusted friends, all of whom will be there to help me.
But during really difficult times, I have spoken to my GP and sought counselling via Mind. Therapy helped me to unpack my negative thought patterns, so I can spot them in future. It’s helped me to recognise negative spirals before they take hold, so I can take action. It’s important to remember that there is always support out there – and talking about your feelings will allow people to help you.
Lucy Mowatt, Founder, Method Marketing