We all have days where we just cannot get out of bed.
I’m fully aware that I have schoolwork waiting for me, work emails flagged but unopened, dishes piling up and dirty laundry scattered across the floor. There have been more days than usual lately where I know I shouldn’t be lying in bed all day, and still do anyway. I go through reruns on Netflix, take excessively long naps, and avoid my responsibilities.
It gets to a point sometimes where I can feel it having an impact on my mental and physical wellbeing. Given that I’m in a love-hate relationship with WebMD, the first thing I did was Google a solution. I’ll be honest: the tips I have discovered over time are not always bulletproof. There are some days where literally nothing works, and that’s okay! Pulling yourself up by the bootstraps requires immense strength from within, especially when nothing seems to improve how you feel. The good news is, I have 5 tips to help boost your mood, and one of them might just work for you.
- Play music that gets you pumped
The step that can usually kickstart things for me is blasting music. The song is strategic here, so only choose ones that you know will get you hyped up. Once I put headphones on, I instantly feel like moving in some way. Research shows that music can alleviate anxiety, reduce blood pressure and pain, as well as improve the quality of your sleep, mood, memory, and mental acuity. Whether it’s classical or classic rock, choose a song, plug in and go!
- Move your body
Exercise can be helpful if you’re mentally exhausted or need a break from analytical tasks. Physical activities can include anything from yoga, to cardiovascular activities such as jogging or biking, to lifting weights or doing a HIIT workout. Recently, I’ve been supplementing my own at-home workouts with pilates. If the thought of my usual workout doesn’t appeal to me, or if I can’t focus on my schoolwork, I take a break from my routine and follow a pilates video from YouTube. A few of my recommendations for both pilates and bodyweight workouts are Fitness Blender, Koboko Fitness, and Blogilates. Not only does working out boost endorphin levels, which immediately make you feel happier, but it also helps regulate sleep patterns as well as reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. The Mayo Clinic suggests that 30 minutes of physical activity 3 to 5 times a week can significantly improve your mood. The best part about physical activity is that it doesn’t have to be boring! Choose what you enjoy and makes you feel best.
- Go outside
Leaving your home can be especially scary during a global pandemic, so this is one of the things that I consistently put off doing. However, once I finally got around to it, I experienced a world of difference. Humans need vitamin D, fresh air, and time to immerse themselves in the elements. Going for a walk or sitting in the grass can improve your concentration and help you unwind. There is even evidence that simply looking at trees can lower your blood pressure and stress levels. Going outside for me has recently consisted of kicking around a soccer ball with my family, or grabbing a quick coffee from a local cafe at the end of a walk. The outdoors is also a great opportunity for a new adventure, so look around for new places near you to explore! There is nothing more effective at inducing happiness than spending time in the sunshine. Grab a water bottle, some SPF, and head outside!
- Keep your space clean
A dirty bedroom or workspace is a huge source of stress and anxiety for me, especially when I have more important things to do. One thing I always do before starting other tasks, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, is tidying up my room. I make my bed, fold and store the pile of discarded clothes lying on my chair, put away everything on the floor, and organize my desk space. If time is not a constraint, try decluttering or reorganizing a certain part of your space. If it’s a nice day, pop open a window! The fresh breeze is an instant mood lifter — it’ll make you feel happier and more at ease.
- Do something that makes you happy
Picking up an old hobby or just taking time to do something that you enjoy is a sure-fire way to boost your mood. Make sure you’re picking something that will stimulate you — make you feel as though you’re taking time to honour yourself and what you like to do. This could be anything from a creative outlet to helping out your loved ones with one of their tasks, playing video games or even taking the time for some reading.
- First, love yourself.
Just a few little extra tips before I send you off.
Firstly, your body talks to you. LISTEN. Regardless of all the things you need to do in a day, remember that you need time to relax and decompress. If that means taking a lazy day or two every week to be able to feel like yourself again, take it. Taking one day a week to veg out in front of the TV or to lie in bed all day is actually good for you, as it allows your body to recover and prepare for what lies ahead.
Secondly, the past year has been an especially difficult and isolating time for everyone, but there is something to be said about not feeling lonely when you’re alone. On top of staying in touch with your loved ones, take this time to learn new things about yourself. Switch up the decor in your space, invest in books or look into topics that interest you. Remind yourself that to feel fulfilled by the love and attention others give you, you first need to give love to yourself. Not only will this let you figure out what you enjoy and what you spend your time doing, but it’ll also help you determine what you like and expect from others.
And, if all else fails, just think of Keanu Reeves playing with puppies.