If you’re like most of us, there are days your schedule seems to go from busy to overloaded in an instant. This constant juggling can be stressful. It can leave you feeling drained, frazzled and downright grumpy.
When faced with times like these, know that even a few small tweaks to your lifestyle can be the best mood boosters. These remedies are natural and easy and can do wonders to improve your mood, your outlook and how you interact with others.
1. Choose mood-boosting foods
What you’re putting on your plate at mealtimes has a lot to do with how you’re feeling physically and mentally. There are many healthy, mood-boosting foods that can play a vital role in helping you feel better.
What should you be reaching for? Try foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like wild-caught salmon, walnuts and canola oil. Leafy greens, avocados and broccoli will up your intake of folate, a key B vitamin. And whole grains like steel-cut oats, wild rice and quinoa will keep you feeling full and contain vitamins vital for good brain health.
2. Reduce your alcohol intake
Grabbing a beer or pouring a glass of wine after work can seem like a relaxing way to unwind after a busy day. But regular and excessive alcohol intake can actually lower the “feel good” serotonin levels in your brain, which can leave you feeling down.
3. Go offline for the day
Scrolling through your various social media feeds can keep your attention for hours. It can also be addictive. The lure of reading just one more comment or seeing just one more filtered photo is enticing. But all that screen time can make your eyes ache and put you in a bad mood.
We may not want to admit it, but our fixation with social media is often triggered by a little FOMO – fear of missing out – and we use it to compare ourselves to others. An effective remedy for this social media saturation is a digital detox, which can be a good way to embrace your own brand of JOMO – the joy of missing out.
Make plans to go offline for a day by switching off social media and giving your brain a break from the “likes” and comments. You’ll be amazed at the fun things you can do that don’t involve screen time.
4. Get more vitamin D
Getting a daily dose of mid-day sunshine is the most natural way for your body to make vitamin D, which it needs to function properly. About 20 to 30 minutes several times a week is recommended.
If your schedule doesn’t allow this—or you live in an area with more clouds than sun, you can seek out food sources of vitamin D. Of the most commonly consumed foods, the highest in vitamin D is oily fish like salmon, herring and sardines. Egg yolks and mushrooms are also good sources, and don’t forget your vitamin D fortified milk!
5. Get some exercise
Every time you exercise, whether it’s walking your dog or running laps on the track, your body produces natural mood-lifters called endorphins. Research shows that jogging for just 15 minutes each day – or walking for an hour – lowers a person’s risk of depression.
Exercise also helps you get into a more regular sleep pattern, which improves your mental health.
6. Cut out the caffeine
While many people think swigging a few caffeinated beverages each day will keep them focused and give them energy, there is a tipping point. Too much caffeine can leave you feeling anxious and jittery.
If you’re used to refilling your coffee cup or grabbing a caffeine-infused beverage several times a day, consider gradually cutting back—maybe even go caffeine-free. Chances are you’ll notice a difference in how you feel.
An alternative way to support your energy levels throughout the day is with a quality supplement such as Vitamin B, which features all eight essential B vitamins plus natural spirulina to help your body fight fatigue before it hits.
7. Clean up and declutter
Cleaning might not seem like a mood-booster, but getting rid of the clutter in your home or office makes you feel mentally lighter.
Walking past that table stacked with unopened mail can make you feel frustrated or overwhelmed. Ditto for that area of your home that seems to become the dumping ground for everyone’s backpacks, purses and gym bags.
Bringing some order to those problem areas will give you a sense of accomplishment.
8. Take a walk in nature
Fresh air is an excellent mood-lifter. Being out in nature, hearing the birds and feeling the wind on your face offers therapeutic benefits. For example, the calming sounds of nature can lower blood pressure and your body’s level of cortisol, which can calm its fight-or-flight response.
Natural mood-boosters are all around us. Taking a little time each day to find ways to improve your mood is a good investment in yourself. And most of these are easy things for anyone to do, no matter where you are in your day. Let’s face it, everyone deserves a quick pick-me-up.