We’ve gathered a few ideas for beating the blues for the next coming months. Boosting your mood involves a good balance of things that make you feel good. This can be as simple as creating goals, getting involved in what you love and taking care of you mind and body. With goal setting, look to aspects related to relationships, career, school, finances, health, lifestyle and personal development. Use the S.M.A.R.T principles and make sure you have rewards to keep you going as you achieve your goals. If you have little money this could be as simple eating a small piece of dark chocolate, watching your favourite TV programme or smoothing on a lovely smelling hand cream after you’ve achieved a goal or finished a task. You could take a trip to the beach or buy something little such as a book or book your next surf or snow trip as a bigger reward. The daily goals you reach and the rewards you give yourself however little, will help break the negative cycles of thinking.
There are certain types of food that are better for your mood than others. Try to reduce your refined sugar intake. Eating simple sugars can negatively affect your immune system, lead to weight gain and can damage the heart and kidneys over time. Swap sweets and pastries with foods that have an additional immune-system boost. Try adding these to your diet to improve your health – berries, almonds, spinach, broccoli, ginger, garlic, citrus fruits and peppers. Other mood boosting foods can include avocados, blueberries, eggs, kale, mackerel, sweet potato and tumeric to name a few. Low mood foods include foods such as canned soups, cereal bars, energy drinks, margerine and processed meat. Food with colourings, MSG, refined sugar, sweetened and processed foods tend produce low mood.
Getting the basics right with food, exercise and sleep serves as a base to keep your mental state from fluctuating. A few other tips to feel good and healthy could include:
- Try eating balanced diet with nutritional foods making sure to start your morning with breakfast. Try to reduce sugar intake and include lots of different coloured vegetables and fruits. Add spices to your food.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Socialise and make connections with people you meet.
- Drink something warm and soothing before bed and drink plenty of water during the day.
- Keep yourself warm. There is nothing more miserable than feeling cold all day.
Practice self compassion. Be kind to yourself and treat yourself as you would a friend or family member. Try to stop criticizing yourself and be mindful of the words you use in your internal monologue. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re lacking motivation and enthusiasm. Work on your goals and try creating a gratitude jar or book where you write down each day anything, however small, that you have appreciated or makes you happy. Write down any worries separately and brainstorm ideas to solve a problem. Make your space at home somewhere to enjoy and be able to relax in. A tidy, peaceful nook somewhere you can escape from everyone will help you enjoy taking time out. Pick up a book, start a journal or try out a new hobby. Boredom doesn’t help with low feelings, so find time to discover what makes you tick. Learning to relieve stress daily will keep us at our optimum. Try a combination of relaxing exercises such as breathing techniques, meditation and talking about aspects of your life that are troubling you. Learn to say no if you’re overwhelmed by building responsibilities in both work and home life. Have a devise detox and try time out from social media. You’ll find you have more time to engage in tasks and hobbies that feel more nourishing.
Despite wanting to stay in to hunker down, exercising will help boost mood by releasing all the “happy hormones”. Endorphins are released and creates positive feelings. Aim to get outside in the daylight to exercise so that you get a dose of vitamin D at the same time. Make exercise a regular occurrence, not just a once or twice a week thing, but also don’t over do it to the point where you’re feeling tired and stressed. Exercise and vitamin D from being outside promotes serotonin production. An exercise buddy can help you get out on those days when you’d rather stay in and you can have a laugh as you try out new sports. A good laugh will bring out the endorphins! Go for walks, run and if you’re near the sea get in the water for a surf our swim. Exercise will help reduce anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve sleep and will help self esteem. Yoga is a good choice as the movements can release tension and being conscious of your breath can help to relax you. A mixture of sports or classes will help keep exercise feeling interesting. Make time to go on little adventures. Walk through the woods, park or along the coast to help you feel better. Go somewhere different and take notice of all that is around you.
Think about your long term goals and dreams and make them a reality to give you something to look forward to in the future. Perhaps book that yoga retreat in the sun or a surf trip to that tropical island. Finding small daily boosts can get you through each day and find an affirmation that you can repeat in your head to reduce stress and keep you thinking positively. Mindfulness seems like a trend, but when you start to notice things you hadn’t seen or experienced before in everyday life, life gets little more interesting. You may even enjoy those annoying small chores such as washing the dishes. Just take your time, pay attention the warm water on your hands, the trickling water and appreciate wiping each piece until it sparkles. Job done! Now go get that reward!