5 Ways to Get More Energy on Days When You Feel Blah

After celebrating the holidays, having weeks off from school, and an abundance of the gloriousness that is spare time, the first few weeks back to the grind can be unusually tough. Not to mention the chilly winter air may leave you feeling that the only option for the day is to stay snuggled under the covers. If you wake up tired, feeling sluggish, or maybe just in a bad mood, stop yourself from spending the day procrastinating in bed or lounging on the couch.  There is hope for those bad days!
 
Dr. David Leibow, a member of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and author of When College Is Not the Best Time of Your Life, suggests that the first step to fixing a down mood, is figuring out the cause.
 

“Try to figure out when the ‘blah’ mood began and see if you can remember what was going on, or what you were thinking about, when your mood dipped,” Leibow said. “Very often it will be something you've recognized to be a trigger in the past.”
 
Leibow explains that there are two kinds of triggers: major, and minor. A minor trigger could be something such as having binged on junk food or gained some weight.  A moderate trigger might be having had a fight with your mother or boyfriend or been snubbed by a friend.  A major trigger might be having procrastinated too long doing your school work or failing to turn in an assignment.
 
“Once you've identified the trigger, you're in a better position to improve your low mood,” Leibow said.
 
Whatever the cause of your down mood, here are 5 ways to get back on the bright side.

1. Do 20 Jumping Jacks

We’ve had the importance of being active drilled into our heads, and for good reason. Elle Woods in Legally Blonde gave us the explanation for it: “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy.” She’s right. According to a study by Dr. Kenneth Fox, an Exercise and Health Science professor at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, exercise can reduce anxiety and improve physical self-perceptions and self-esteem. From the findings of the study, Fox even suggests that exercise be used as a way to treat depression and anxiety.

So whether you’re clicking through the channels on TV, or your friends’ month-old Facebook pictures that you’ve looked at a thousand times, get up! Take a quick walk, or hit the gym, even if it’s only for 15 -20 min. If you’re crunched on time, or aren’t up for a real sweat, try doing a few jumping jacks, anything to get your heart pumping. Check out this article on tips for getting to the gym more often. Not only will for feel better after exercising, you’ll also have done something healthy for your body! How’s that for making you happy?
 
2. Whip Up Some Eggs

It may seem crazy, but eating certain foods can actually put you in a better mood. A few of those foods include: milk, caffeine, eggs, cinnamon, and fish. To read more about these foods and why they work, read this article on 5 foods to boost your mood this winter.  Now you just have to decide: fried or scrambled?

3. Think Happy Thoughts:

Remember how thinking happy thoughts helped Peter Pan fly? It can work for you too. Well, kind of. According to a study by Shelley Taylor, of the University of California, and Jonathon Brown, of Southern Methodist University, positive thoughts are tied to happiness. The study found that people with high self-esteem, self-confidence, and who believe the future will bring them happiness, are more likely to be happy than people who think otherwise.
 
Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project says sometimes even pretending she’s cheerful eventually makes her feel that way. “Feelings follow actions,” she says.
 
Instead of dwelling on your sluggish mood, think about what you like about yourself, what you’re proud of, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re looking forward to that week, or even that year. Try jotting it down in a quick list, and posting it above your desk.  Who knew you were your own best mood-booster?