How is your mood? This past year I have heard from a number of people that their mood is not as good as is used to be – pre-pandemic. Perhaps you have lost a job, lost a loved one, or even just isolated more so that you have lost your connection to people. You might describe it as grieving your “old life” and perhaps it has put you in a sad, irritable or angry mood. And perhaps you are eating differently and moving less, so your health has worsened or the scale is showing a higher number than it used to. Whatever the reason, moods change and you can suffer – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are a number of ways I lift my mood when I start feeling down. Here are some tips I will offer you to do the same. Since everyone is so different in what lifts their spirits, not everything is going to work for you. Some are easy and quick while some take time to cultivate. But there may be something you can take away and apply to your life to help lift your spirits when you are down.
One of the key things I learned while studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is how to fuel myself and refresh my outlook through primary food. We learned that primary foods are things – other than edible food – that are essential to your life. Things like the state of your relationships, your career, your physical being, your spiritual practices, etc. These things fill you up in a way that food cannot. In that sense, it is primary food.
Consider these ideas and choose what will work best in your life:
Take it outside.
Going for a long walk in nature is an excellent way to breathe in fresh air. I have a forest preserve near my home where I walk or bike-ride. I also have a yard and swing where I can relax, enjoy the sunshine, take in the scent of flowers or grass, and listen to birds chirping or children playing. I let all my senses absorb what is going on outdoors and it always manages to calm my anxieties and lift my spirits.
Physical movement is so important. Even if the gym isn’t available or you can’t get outside, I suggest watching a video on how to do some basic exercises at home. And more importantly than trying to build muscle is to stretch, particularly your spine. My favorite yogi once told me that “Spine is Life”, so even if you don’t do any other movement, the minimum you should try to do each day is stretch your spine first thing in the morning. Of course, if you can kickbox, do Zumba, yoga or Tai Chi, do it! And daily, if possible!
Find your Fun
Fun and laughter are great medicine for low moods. Laugh with a friend, watching a funny movie or TV show, read a lighthearted book, sing or dance, make arts or crafts, cook or bake! Find something that you find FUN and do it. Question: what did you love doing as a kid? The answer to that may lead you to discover what makes you happy now. For instance, I loved drawing as a child. I also loved reading or doing puzzles. So while it may sound boring to others, these things are really fun for me even now! That’s the point. Find what is fun for you and do that.
Develop a Strong Spiritual Life
Spiritual connection is a life journey for everyone. I have developed a strong spiritual life through prayer, meditation, journaling, writing a gratitude list, breathing deeply, and reminding myself that difficult moments will pass. There are so many wonderfully inspiring books that will help you attain a greater sense of spirituality. Find something that speaks to you and keep your mind open to what you read. Here are just a few of my early favorites when I embarked on this journey:
- “A New Earth”, by Eckhart Tolle
- “The Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukov
- “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer
- “Making Your Mind Your Best Friend” by Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari. This last one is a small one with huge impact. But there are many out there. I strongly encourage a lifetime of exploration on this!
Connect with Loved Ones
Surrounding yourself with loved ones is so important, particularly when we have experienced isolation, as many have this past year. Talk (don’t email, text, IM or post on social media) – but talk with your family or friends. Speak on the phone, or see them safely in person if you can. Connect with like-minded people with whom you can share your views and thoughts. Who has the same sense of humor you have? Spend time with those connections. They are going to be great healers for your overall health!
I have a regular practice of using the best quality scents that truly do lift my mood. I diffuse high quality essential oils in a diffuser, or I apply them topically to lift my spirits on a regular basis. Some of the most calming and mood-lifting for me include citrus scents, lavender, and tree scents like fir or spruce. If you wish to explore the oils I love most, click here: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/site/janelhernandez
A warm cup of tea, healthy meal, energizing juice, or some dark chocolate can lift my mood in minutes. My favorite part of the change of seasons is juicing seasonal vegetables. Whether it’s carrots, beets, and celery; or oranges and apples, and pineapple, I enjoy the variety of tastes and wonderful nutrition that instantly surges through my veins when drinking fresh juice.
So there you have it…my favorite ways to improve my mood naturally. I hope I have sparked an interest in you to find some effective mood lifting ideas when you need them.
Wishing you wellness!