Quick mood boosters you can do today!
Self care doesn't need to be an additional chore!!
All of these quick mood-boosters will fall within one of the 3 key tenets of happiness suggested by Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology:
- Finding Meaning/Purpose
- Being in “flow”
- Healthy relationships
1. Join a class or a club – something you always wanted to try, or something you always enjoyed. There you may meet like-minded people where you know it will be possible to connect on some topics of conversation
2. Volunteer somewhere – this may also allow you to feel fulfilled at being able to give a little time back to the community.
3. Re-connect with your authentic self. We ALL spend a lot of time performing adaptive roles (Professional, Partner, Child and so on…), being on your own allows you to touch base with who you are and what you love. If you want to pretend that you’re a jedi in your dressing gown, or dancing in your boxers to Gangnam style – so be it.
4. Build a “positivity reservoir”. Save images of things, people or experiences that make you smile.
Build Healthy Relationships
1. Call an old friend – randomly. If you find yourself out walking, just scroll down your contacts and give someone a call, chances are they’ll be delighted to hear from you. If you’re not quite ready to chat out of the blue, drop them a text. We do not often deliberately lose touch with people, we just don’t always find the time – and if you’re a little worried about not having been in touch, it is likely they feel just as guilty, so don’t let that stop you!
2. Accept invitations – even if you are unsure if you will enjoy the event. At least you will know for next time, and you might meet other people who think the same while you are there.
3. Be honest with your values – it’s OK to edit your life
Look carefully at your current relationships. Ask yourself:
- Which ones are reciprocal?
- Which ones bring me joy?
- Which ones encourage honesty?
- Which ones can I rely on?
and most importantly
- Which ones are with people I respect for their own values and actions?
THEN actively CHOOSE to spend time with those people (which means you can tell the ones who do not feature, quite truthfully “Sorry, I’m busy”).
4. Invite people over. Being a host can be energising, and it doesn’t take a lot of work to pour a few nibbles into a bowl (and have sanitizer standing by for all the sharing). Arrange a film/sport/games night – and when it comes to games, try the more unusual co-operative games such as “Pandemic” or “Betrayal: House on Haunted Hill” or even a tabletop Escape Game such as “UNLOCK” because they are a great way to get chatting strategy and teamwork.
Find your flow
1. Making your living environment positive as well – photos of the people you love, or feelings of comfort in the place you like to spend time can at least help you feel good in any down-time you might get. Having at least one clear space that feels relaxing and safe can make a huge difference to how you feel.
2. Be effective in your self-care choices
i. Recognise when you are enjoying something.
ii. Decide if that activity energises or relaxes you.
iii. Decide what you need – and pick from the list of things you know you enjoy.
The secret to this is that if we are feeling stressed, then something that relaxes us is going to be far more effective than something that energises us, but if we are feeling down or apathetic, then an energizer may be more useful than a relaxant!
3. Remember that your physical health can affect your mental wellbeing. Eat, sleep and exercise – getting the blood pumping can help clear your mind. Over-indulgence can result in feeling of guilt and perhaps excess weight which can then be an additional issue to feelings of loneliness. But undereating and a lack of sleep can also result in a lack of ability to focus or feelings of anxiety which also may not help you in forming positive connections. Simply getting out (while dressed suitably for the weather!) can help you get more Vitamin D which can increase feelings of happiness and counter things such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD – often exacerbating feelings of loneliness in the winter months), and fresh air is also good for us.
4. Make your bed every day!! This seems like such a trivial thing to do, but not only is it an act of self care – we also spend around 8 hours (a third of our day) in the bedroom, you are worth being welcome back to a straightened duvet cover. (This also goes for washing up and taking the bins out!)
…and of course recognise the little wins and the little things that have made us feel great – gratitude practice is a very good way to do this – journaling what you’re grateful for, or simply doing it as a thought exercise first thing in the morning or last thing before bed.
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author with a specialty in the "how to take action", rather than just giving explanation and advice. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience. For self development tools based within positive psychology: click Her YouTube Channel . Twitter/IG @draudreyt