Feeling a Bit Blue?
Parents often speak to me about their adolescent as "being moody". What would cause these
"moods"? Perhaps they are caused by hormonal changes and influences. Perhaps they are due to
the many new challenges and pressures as you approach adulthood.
When you're "in a mood" you may feel irritable or feel like you want to be alone. No
matter what the cause, or how it feels, there are some basics that will help you take care
of yourself. When you take care of yourself, it may not take your "mood" away, but you
will find, for example, that you don't verbally snap at your little brother as fast, and
you'll smile a little quicker than before. Taking care of yourself helps.
Taking Care of Yourself
Basics that will help you take care of yourself so that you can feel and be the best you can
be include eating right, exercising in a way that you enjoy, listening to your body to get
enough "down time", and reaching out to those who care about you.
When we eat regularly, eat the right foods, and get enough fluids, we think better, feel
better and generally are in a calmer food. Skipping meals or eating foods with high
sugar content can make us a little irritable and even of low energy levels.
Do Exercise That You Enjoy
There is a type of movement for everybody. It could be dance or yoga or volleyball. Some
young women enjoy team activities, and some prefer individual activities. Some exercise
can be both - as skiing or running in that you do an individual sport, but perhaps along
with others. One day we may enjoy a competitive team sport and the next day a different
type like yoga. Which is best for you?
Rest or Down-Time when your Body Needs It
We all need unplanned down-time. It's ok to not go to the mall with your friends if you
feel like staying in for a movie, or to read a good book. Hanging out with your cat, or
by yourself is also necessary to be healthy. Listening to your body will enhance your
health. Research shows that following your body cues generally leads to a healthier you.
Identifying What You Need
We have different needs at different times. Sometimes we need to be active and with people,
and sometimes we need to be quiet and with just one close friend.
A good exercise is to ask yourself:
What do I need right now?
Reaching out to those you trust
I often ask young women, "Who can you talk to? Who would you reach out to if you needed an
adult's time or opinion? Who do you feel comfortable talking
to?" It's always good to reach out and talk to those that you can trust, and if you're not
sure if you have a handful of those people in your life, it's good to keep an eye open for
Here is a good exercise to help. First, find some quiet time. It may help to use a
journal or pad of paper to jot down
your ideas. Think of an
adult that you feel comfortable and safe with. Usually this is someone who is non-judgmental
and trustworthy. It could be a parent, neighbor, teacher, librarian, someone at church,
or a relative. Then think of a classmate or someone your age who you feel similarly
comfortable. Begin your list, and add to it as days go by. It always helps to have a
growing list - some times it takes time. Reach out, a little bit at a time. Remember that
there are people out there. Keep trying to find more friends and people that are
trustworthy...it's worth the effort!
What if my emotions seem more than a temporary "mood"?
Sometimes emotions are more than temporary moods, and you need help. If you are concerned
that you or a friend is in trouble, it is important to reach out for help.
If you are feeling suicidal or unsafe now or need immediate help: Dial 911 or the
operator and just ask for help, or go to your nearest Emergency Room. For less urgent problems,
call your doctor or health care provider.
Don't hesitate. Even when you are in doubt - it's important to reach out for help.