How to help improve and uplift your mood and support your mental health during a pandemic.
Not many of us could have imagined we would have lived through the pandemic we have been living through since the beginning of 2020. From illness, to lock downs, to the closures of so many small businesses and establishments. The global COVID 19 pandemic has really hit hard in so many ways.
Today I wanted to do a blog about some different ways we can help improve and uplift our moods as well as support our mental health.
For myself, I am a shy extrovert. I love and thrive being around people! Its my happy place. I have come to realize during this whole experience, that, I do not do well alone. Luckily I do not live alone which has been a saving grace for me, but I know that is not the case for many.
Like many, there are so many day to day things i miss. Hugs. A simple 4 letter word, but man oh man, do I miss them.
So here are some different techniques, DIY's and resources for helping us all get through this the best we can.
1) Light Therapy :
Light therapy is a way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other conditions by exposure to artificial light. During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.
Research has shown that the light therapy affects the brain chemicals that are linked to mood as well as sleep. It can ease symptoms of seasonal affected disorder, as well as depression and poor sleep.
Especially helpful in the winter months, as we take in less natural light in winter compared to sunnier seasons, we experience a drop in serotonin, the “happy chemical”, that naturally occurs in our bodies. Light therapy mimics the light our bodies so desperately need, and helps improve our mood.
Here is a link to a great brand of light therapy lights.
There is a beautiful assortment of essential oils that help to boost your mood and re-energize your system.
Essential oils are concentrated compounds extracted from plants through steam or water distillation, or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing. Here are some essential oils that help improve mood, memory and are overall uplifting:
Lavender has been found across numerous studies to be an effective natural remedy for helping alleviate anxiety and depression, relieving stress, and improving sleep. With no known side effects, which are common with conventional treatments for these conditions, lavender is an easy and safe way to calm your mood. For best results, add a few drops to your pillow or bed sheets, or use a diffuser near your bed or desk.
Frankincense is a wonder essential oil that offers a variety of health benefits, including helping relieve stress and anxiety, reducing pain, and boosting immunity. It has a warm and slightly spicy scent. It is said to transmit messages to the limbic system of the brain, thereby influencing the nervous system.
Lemongrass essential oil has a light, fresh, citrus scent that provides a rejuvenating and stimulating experience, boosting inspiration and improving mental clarity. With these great properties, it is ideally suited for tackling the dreaded mid-afternoon slump, or used before a presentation to help promote confidence and ease any mild stress.
Citrus essential oils are like Vitamin C for the soul! Their bright and cheery scent are reflective of how they affect our mood.
You can use these essential oils in a diffuser, in a carrier oil or lotion and applied to the body, or even placed on a tissue or cotton pad and inhaled for a portable low cost option. Always purchase 100% pure essential oils. We do not reccomend ingestion.
3) Talk with someone. We are all going through our own unique experience of this pandemic and it may be bringing up a lot of emotions for some of us. Talking with someone who may be able to help you to heal, provide coping mechanisms, even just someone to listen can be all we need. I want to recommend a counseling and wellness services here. The work they do is incredible. And you can have sessions from the comfort of your own space. Whether its your bedroom, garage or even from your car, speaking with a counselor can be tremendously healing and exactly what you need. Find out the information your need here. They are also offering a pay what you can at the moment. https://www.newrootstherapy.com/pay-what-you-can-counselling
4) Journaling. Whether your write as if you are writing to someone, or even if you are just doing a "brain dump", writing a journal can be very helpful. First thing in the morning, dumping every thought that comes across your mind onto paper, is an amazing way to start the day with a clear mind. I also love doing this right before bed, it provides a deeper, more restful sleep!
5) "Spring Cleaning". Take this time to go through what you have laying around and clean house. De-clutter the things you no longer use or wear. If you haven't used it in the past 6 months, time to re-home it! I find this beautifully therapeutic! It helps to clear out the old to make space to bring in the news. It can also be motivational! Creating a healthy space for us to live in, spring cleaning is as beneficial physically as it is mentally!
6) Movement. Movement has always been said to boost serotonin. Whether you jazzercize or do some gentle yoga or Thai chi, movement feels good for the body and soul. Regular exercise or activity can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you sleep better.
7) Feed your temple. Foods that can support your mood include nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts), avocados, beans, leafy greens (spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts), and fresh fruit such as blueberries. These food are full of antioxidants, healthy fats and are nutrient dense! Physologically, our bodies feel better after eating healthy foods than when we eat junk food. For a decadent healthy treat, try chocolate avocado mousse! https://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/easy-superfood-chocolate-pudding/
8) Listen to feel good music. Listening to music that makes you want to dance is great for the soul, the mood and for the body! Listen to whatever makes you happy! Whether that is classical, rock, oldies or maybe its songs from your favourite movies! Dance like no one is watching and sing your heart out! This is a great example to feed the mind, body and spirit!
9) Practice gratitude. Especially when times are tough, its so important to take a moment to be thankful for everything you can think of! I love writing it down. The more you practice gratitude, the more there is to be grateful for! Even if you just start by being thankful for the air we breathe and clean water we drink. Start there and allow your gratitude list to grow.
10) Self care. This is huge. Taking the time to take a soothing bath, curling up by a window and reading a book or maybe its taking care of your skin by exfoliating and moisturizing, self care is critical to caring for our mental health and well being. Try adding Epsom salts to soothe aches and pains and help boost magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress. These few simple things physically make our bodies feel good but also make an impact on our mental health as well.
Take each day and each moment one step at a time. Keep focusing on what you can control, not what you cannot. Life comes with lots of unexpected bumps in the road, and its how we navigate those bumps that matters. Just take it one step at a time, and when in doubt, reach out.