Winter has set in and for some of us that means the winter blues have kicked in. This is emphasised this year by the COVID-19 situation and lockdowns. One of the first things I ask my clients when we start a coaching session is how they are feeling. It's so important to understand a client's emotional and mental state before diving into a session. At the moment a large number are low, feeling down, stressed, and finding life tough. This week I wanted to give some advice on some simple natural hacks you can do to lift your mood.
As always this is my number one! Humans are not supposed to be indoors all day. We need vitamin D which our body creates from direct sunlight on our skin when we're outdoors as well as from a few foods. It reduces depression and boosts energy.
Also, another effect of being in nature is our stress levels drop. Literally, studies show your blood pressure will drop after just 10mins in nature. It doesn't have to be a trip to the country, just a walk around the local park can do it. Use what's accessible to you.
It's a scientific fact exercise improves mood. Your body releases chemicals called endorphins. The endorphins interact with receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to what morphine does. Studies show exercise is as good as antidepressant for curing depression.
I start every day with a gratitude practice. I use the 6-minute Journal.
I write down 3 things I am grateful for every morning. It helps to focus you on the positive and see gratitude in the small things. For example, sometimes I am just grateful for the morning sun or having water to drink and food to eat. Over time gratitude practice can help us change our outlook to a more positive one.
In the current situation, we are spending more and more time on our devices, always connected. This means we are always 'on' emails, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter etc. Try to find an activity where you can unplug from your devices every day. Maybe a hobby, meet a friend for a walk, play a game with the kids, read a book.
Do not start your day by looking at the news or your phone. We all know it's not very uplifting at the moment. Try to start the day with a positive message or activity to allow yourself a bit of time each morning to get set up in a mentally positive place for the day. We all know when we start the day on the wrong foot it spirals.
The sense of smell is powerful and integrally connected to mood and memory. Try using incense or infusers. Scientists have found for example lavender can help reduce stress, while researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University in the States have discovered that the smell of peppermint boosts mood.
Eat Dark Chocolate
Yes, I am for real - dark chocolate is an antioxidant. It also stimulates the production of endorphins; chemicals in the brain that create feelings of pleasure. Dark chocolate also contains serotonin, an antidepressant that can elevate mood. So go ahead and indulge.
Hope these help, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'd love to hear how you get on.