Mental Health Awareness Month: 10 Self-Care Ideas to Boost Your Mood0 Comments
Some days we wake up feeling like we can conquer anything. Other days—not so much.
So, what should you do on the days when you can’t find the pep in your step?
If you’re looking for ways to ward off dips in your mood, a self-care routine is a hug win, but let’s be clear, this isn’t exactly what we mean by self-care:
last night i practiced self care by eating cinnamon toast crunch in bed and letting the sugar crumbs in my sheets exfoliate my legs— Isabel Steckel (@IsabelSteckel) December 11, 2018
This is a little closer:
Imagine taking a glass of water with you to bed and drinking it— Kevin Farzad (@KevinFarzad) January 27, 2021
Hey, to each their own. But in all seriousness, practicing self-care is about working in healthy and productive mood boosters into your existing routine. It can be hard to find and stick to the right pick-me-ups, but they can definitely make your moods a little more consistent.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ve put together a list of 10 self-care ideas to keep your mood, energy, and motivation up on the days that don’t pass the vibe check.
- Listen to Upbeat Music
- Get Outside
- Stick to a Routine
- Check Your Diet
- Keep a Journal
- Take a Technology Break
- Learn Something New
- Let the Light In
Let's dig in!
If you want to get the feel-good hormones (serotonin and dopamine) flowing, you have to get moving. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood.
If you enjoy a good, go-all-in workout, keep it up. But we can all agree that it’s not always easy to convince yourself to exercise.
The Crossrope app has over 500 full-body, HIIT, cardio, and strength training workouts for you to choose from, and plenty of quick workout options under 15 minutes.
Honestly, it’s impossible not to smile while jumping. But don’t take our word for it—grab a set of ropes and see for yourself.
2. Listen to Upbeat Music
Studies have shown that listening to music you enjoy can release the same happy hormones you get from exercise. So, if you’re looking for an easy pick-me-up, good tunes and their mood-boosting benefits are a good place to start.
Not only can music make you feel better, but it can also give you the surge of motivation you need to get up and exercise.
Some professionals refer to music as the ‘legal drug’ for athletes because of it’s ability to “reduce the perception of effort significantly” and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.
3. Get Outside
When in nature, people actually find themselves in a more positive mood and have better cognitive function, memory improves, and the ability to focus. Some people also experience a boost in creativity.
If you’re in search of some effective (and cheap) self-care, spending time outside can help you tune back into yourself, slow down, and pay attention to different things, while letting go of others.
When you find yourself feeling down, do your body (and your mind) a favor and don’t trap yourself inside.
4. Stick to a Routine
Maintaining a routine helps keep the mind occupied, makes us feel more in control, and reduces stress.
A sleep schedule is particularly important for mental health. Sleep is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking, and breathing. If you’re serious about boosting your mood, you should consider practicing good sleep hygiene, meaning you go to bed and wake up at the same times every day.
Another great energizer is to create a morning routine that you actually enjoy and look forward to because no one wants to wake up feeling like this:
I'm totally a morning person in the sense that I'm a person and mornings happen and there's apparently nothing I can do about it— Lyndsay Rush (@rushbomb) September 3, 2015
There are lots of ways to make your mornings more enjoyable. You can take some extra time to read a book or listen to a podcast, do your Wordle, try a new recipe for breakfast, or do some fun jump rope exercises.
A morning routine allows you to start your day with an intention, rather than letting the day run away from you. You control the day; the day doesn’t control you. The positive feeling of being on top of things that creates a lasting effect on your entire day.
Meditation has many health benefits form physical to mental and emotional. If you’d like to improve your focus and reduce stress, you should give it a try and see if it’s right for you.
There are a ton of great apps for meditation and mindfulness (Core, Headspace, Calm). There’s also a lot of great free resources on YouTube for guided meditations.
6. Check Your Diet
Feeling good has a lot to do with what you put in your body. When you’re feeling off, know that you can actually improve your mental state with a fork.
Try incorporating more of these foods into your diet:
- Lean proteins
- Omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon)
- Vitamin b-12
- Vitamin D
- Complex carbs (beans, oatmeal, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, 100% whole-wheat bread)
- Berries (great for reducing stress)
- Dark chocolate
- Bananas (great for improving sleep + reducing anxiety)
Also, don’t forget to keep drinking water, friends! Seriously—if you’re reading this, hydrate right now.
7. Keep a Journal
Journaling is a great way to discover your thoughts, express your emotions, and practice gratitude for the positive aspects of your life. Keeping a journal is a great self-care idea to check in with yourself daily.
Life Coach, Dana Humphrey, suggests using a journal to practice gratitude. A grateful heart attracts more joy, love and prosperity. The power of gratitude helps us to express thankfulness and appreciation, which impacts the overall experience of happiness. A journal is a great way to jot down blessings that come to mind and reflect on them later on. Make a gratitude list or simply repeat affirmations to yourself that ground you.
If you’re stuck on affirmations or have no clue what they are, here’s a bunch good ones to start your journaling process:
- I am allowed to take up space.
- All the answers I need are within myself. I trust my own intuition.
- I have the power to change anything in my life.
- I create my own luck.
- I embrace change with an open mind.
- I see the good in myself and my situation.
- My future is bright and filled with possibilities
- I am moving towards my goals with passion and enthusiasm.
Not only do affirmations make great journaling prompts, but they also make fantastic mantras for meditation if you’re planning on giving that a go.
8. Take a Technology Break
There’s no arguing that stepping away from screens is good for your mental wellbeing. The curated and seemingly perfect lifestyles you see on your feed can cause FOMO, and even leave you feeling lonely.
Powering down for a period of time provides the opportunity to reset and refocus appreciation and gratitude. Choose a specific period of the day to intentionally unplug from your phone. You could choose the first hour of the day or the last hour of your day, maybe you choose lunchtime or the hours just before you put your kids to bed, but the specific time is not important. What is important is the freedom you allow yourself when you power down.
9. Learn Something New
Learning something new creates a feeling of accomplishment and it keeps you busy. Bonus – learning something new can actually keep you healthy.
Learning keeps your mind engaged and body active. It helps you get new and knowledge-based perspectives on the world around you. It helps you gain new experiences, trains your brain to handle a wide range of challenges, and keeps your neural pathways active. All these factors combine to keep you healthy.
Pressed for ideas? Take up knitting, start scrapbooking, try drawing, get into YouTube yoga, or try a jump rope fitness challenge.
10. Get Social
Want to balance your mood? Spend some quality time with the people you love. Being social can help lighten your mood and make you feel happier.
Psychologist Susan Pinker says that direct person-to-person contact triggers parts of our nervous system that release a “cocktail” of neurotransmitters tasked with regulating our response to stress and anxiety.
In other words, when we engage with people face-to-face, it could help to make us more resilient to stress factors in the long run.
All in all, if you want to take care of your mental health, be sure to schedule in time with friends.
What’s Your Self-Care Routine?
There are so many other great ways to take care of yourself, so we want to hear from you! What are some of your self-care ideas?
Drop a comment below about how you plan to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month.