When I’m having a bad day, it can put me in a really bad mood. You know the days I mean, the days where your shopping bag splits and groceries spill all over the car park, the traffic is so awful you miss that meeting, the kids are playing up and then you burn dinner. Yeah, those sorts of days are… well they suck! So I decided to compile a list of 7 ways to pull yourself into a more positive mindset, even when you’re having the day from hell!
I’m not talking sitting down, crossed legged in a room full of candles and humming away while some native American music plays in the background. I’m talking about closing your eyes, breathing in slowly so your chest expands and then pulling in your tummy and letting the energy drop down as you breathe out. Finding the time to just take a step back and refocus is such a great way of getting rid of negative energy. I find doing this for five breaths really helps me to centre myself when I’m getting tense or anxious.
2. Take a walk in nature
It is well documented that being in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety. Recent research commissioned by Natural England, from the University of Essex and Mind has highlighted how nature based interventions (also labelled green care and ecotherapy) could be part of a new way of treating mental health problems. Whenever I’m having a day where the odds are against me, I always get the myself and the boys ready for a nature walk, whether that be through woodland, a park or a local gardens. I personally find that when I go for these walks, the things that have been getting me stressed don’t seem quite such a big deal once I’m out in the fresh air and by the time we get home I’m in a much calmer, happier mood.
3. Get some sunshine
There is a link between low levels of vitamin D and the risk of depression. Human skin can actually produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, so a quick way to lighten a mood is to get outside in the sunshine. Personally I’m not one for sitting around sunbathing, but I do love getting out into the garden when the sun is shining. Gardening is something the children can help with too, so not only is getting out in the sun lifting my mood, but I also get to spend quality time with my children.
Note: In the UK, sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation from October to early March for our skin to be able to make vitamin D, so during these months it is important to source vitamin D from other sources, such as food and supplements.
Sometimes it helps to blow away the cobwebs with a good singsong. We always have music playing in our house, so it makes sense for me and the little ones to sing along to it together. It is well known that singing with children helps to encourage language skills, but did you know that singing can benefit your wellbeing as well? Singing has been shown to release endorphins, which are the feel good hormones associated with pleasure and oxytocin, a hormone that is shown to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, a study by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden has shown that singing in unison, such as a choir, can have calming effects as beneficial to a person’s health as yoga.
For me nothing burns away frustration, upset, anger or stress better than an intense workout. It is widely known that exercise has a positive effect on mood and mental wellbeing. A study by Dr K Fox (1999) highlights that there is a clear link between exercise and positive mood and the BBC reported in 2014 that outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. You don’t need to go to the gym in order to exercise, in fact I tend to do 95% of my physical exercise in the comfort of my own home and garden. I’m a huge fan of Joe Wicks and do one of his HIIT workouts at least 5 times a week in the comfort of my own living room. I also practice yoga four times a week and if the weather is nice I make a point of doing my practise in the garden. My two toddler boys actually come and do some of the exercise workouts with me, with Bear now doing his own version of squats, burpees and a yoga routine with me.
Yoga is a great way of staying balanced and according to the British Psychological Society it is also a great way of relieving stress. Further to this, researchers at Harvard university found that daily yoga practise can also enhance the quality and quantity of sleep. I tend to find that if I practise yoga before bed, I sleep much better and wake up feeling much more rejuvenated and ready for the day. Personally, I find waking up in a positive mood tends to have an effect on how I deal with situations throughout the whole day. When I practise yoga daily, I find that I’m much less likely to slip into a negative mood.
7. A night in with yourself
To be honest sometimes all it takes to pull yourself out of a bad mood is some self-love. As a mum, it can be so difficult to find the time to pamper myself, but it is important that I do take some time to myself every once in a while. When Mr. C heads for one of his dad’s dinners or a night at the pub, I make a point of running a bubble bath, putting on a face mask, pouring a glass of wine, watching a film and having an early night. Nothing de-stresses better than a bit of a pamper and an early night.
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