Feeling down in the dumps post-holidays? Here are five simple ways to boost your mood. The best part? they’ll cost you next to nothing!
1. Step outside. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, it’s winter. Yes, it takes work to bundle the kids and dog to get outdoors–BUT it’s well worth the effort. A study at University of Essex study found that spending just five minutes in nature can lift your mood. If the sun is shining, you’ll reap the additional health benefit of Vitamin D absorption which has been linked to boosting immunity, and possibly preventing major neurological diseases.
2. Give thanks for once a day. Looking for a creative way to slow down and appreciate your life? Try jotting just one thing a day you are a thankful for on a piece of paper, and throwing it into a box or jar. At the end of the year, review all the great things that happened, that we often forget about, and take for granted.
3. Do one thing out of pure selfishness. One reason toddlers and babies are so happy? They’ll purely self-serving! Though studies often show the happiness factor associated with giving your time and wealth to others, there’s something to be said for taking care of yourself, particularly if you use that time to rediscover just one thing you love to do simply because it makes you feel happy and connected to your true self. Think about what you’d do if money or time was no object, and what you loved to do as a child, whether it’s coloring, dancing, or digging out your old 80s heavy metal albums and jamming out.
4. Avoid things that drag you down. In our society of quick fixes and seeking a pill to solve bad moods and anxieties, we forgot all the self-induced ways that we drag our own spirits and health down, including sugar, alcohol, caffeine, fried junk foods and negative people. Though eliminating them from you life can be tough, the short-term high they offer really isn’t worth the long-term lows that follow. Before you have that glass of wine or piece of chocolate, think about something more nourishing you could do instead, whether it’s taking a nice bath (infused with some mood-boosting peppermint oil), or chatting with a friend you’ve been struggling to find the time to catch up with. Take baby steps, and notice how much more empowered you feel when you take control over things that aren’t serving your life for the better.
5. Try something–anything– new. You don’t have to set your sights on running a marathon or starting a company to set a meaningful goal. Anything that is new to your life is a way to explore possibility; every step you take towards positive change is an accomplishment. Think about what you’d love to do if all those self-defeating excuses you make (like not having time, energy, money or knowledge) were removed. Then, set small goals and track your progress. Sometimes, simply breaking out of the doldrums of a work-eat-sleep routine can help you uncover new curiosities that you forget to tend to.