So it hasn't been your day (your week, your month, or even your year). We've all been there before! When life gets busy, it can be hard to make time for yourself. Here are a few simple ways to make a hard day a little easier without totally rearranging your schedule.
1. Try a meditation app.
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It may seem daunting at first — or even a little ridiculous — but using apps like Calm and Headspace can really turn a stressful day around. Even just five minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness can shift focus from your racing thoughts to the simple beauty around you.
2. Start your morning with yoga.
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A quick YouTube search for "morning yoga" returns thousands of results with varying lengths to fit your busy schedule. Whether you're a beginner or an expert yogi, this is a great way to stretch your body and mind in preparation for the day ahead.
3. Eat a healthy snack.
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Foods like strawberries, broccoli, oranges, green tea, fish, spinach, nuts, carrots, lemons, blueberries, whole grains, and even chocolate are full of useful vitamins and nutrients that will make your body and mind feel better. Most importantly, make sure your meals are balanced!
4. Listen to music.
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Jamming to your favorite songs releases dopamine in your brain, making you feel instantly better on a biochemical level. So crank up your favorite Spotify playlist (Pollen is a personal favorite for all the good vibes) and dance like no one's watching.
5. Go screenless.
I doubt this is news to anyone by now, but your phone is sabotaging you. Whether it's the 24-hour news cycle, the pressures of social media, or a barrage of texts and emails, the need to constantly check your phone can really bring you down. Additionally, the blue light from your tv, phone, or computer may be affecting your circadian rhythm, thus cutting into your valuable sleep. Try ditching electronics for a few hours a day and watch how your mood improves!
6. Soak up the sun.
Spending time outdoors can be a literal breath of fresh air in a stressful moment. In addition to providing a nice change of scenery, the Vitamin D that sunlight provides is something our bodies crave. In some extreme cases, light therapy is even prescribed as a remedy for depression. So take advantage of the gift that nature provides — but be sure to wear sunscreen!
7. Laughter really is the best medicine.
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The best way to brighten your day is just to laugh! While the easiest solution is simply to hang out with your best friends, who are sure to lighten your spirits, that's not always an option. So binge a few episodes of your favorite comedy. Read a funny book or blog post. Watch a standup set on YouTube, listen to a lighthearted podcast, or call a close friend. And if that all fails, you can always just tell yourself corny jokes in the mirror! It can be easy to wallow in negative emotions, but remember that choosing happiness isn't giving up. You are doing what is best for yourself, and that is the most important choice you can make!
So if you find yourself in low spirits, try some or all of these simple tricks to boost your mood without compromising your schedule!
If you are feeling more than a little bit down, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor, a trusted loved one, or a professional. The national SAMHSA helpline can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Always put your mental health first.