Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year, is upon us. So what are ways to improve your mood – no matter the day of the year?
The third Monday of January is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year, as reality sinks in: the holidays are over, it’s cold and your new year’s motivation is gone.
Wow, great motivational start to a post!
But seriously, we all have bad days sometimes, no matter what time of year it is. It’s okay and we can’t avoid it.
However, you don’t have to linger on in your bad mood. You’re in control of your mindset. There are things to do to boost your mood.
Below you will find several ways to improve your mood. Pick whatever feels closest to what you like doing. Don’t attempt to do them all at once, but rather see it as a list you can come back to.
Now, let’s just move right to the 25 ways to improve your mood – because that’s what you’re here for, right?!
1. Contact someone you love
Preferably with a (video)call, so you get in touch right away. Calling that person will give them joy as well!
2. Do a breathing exercise
Deep breathing calms your nervous system. Breathe in and out on the rhythm of the graphic below. You can also do a little meditation.
3. Listen to binaural beats (‘brainwave audio’)
Put on a headset or earbuds and listen to binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8 to 13 Hz), as they are thought to encourage relaxation, promote positivity and decrease anxiety. Listen here on Spotify.
4. Wash yourself
Take a shower, wash your face or brush your teeth. It can feel like a weight has been lifted and you feel more refreshed.
Put on some of your favorite music and let loose! Dancing combines the therapeutic power of music with physical activity.
6. Look at inspiring photos
Inspiring or beautiful images can make you feel better as they encourage you to daydream and give happy thoughts.
7. Smile at yourself in the mirror
Don’t feel awkward, just do it and you’ll be surprised how this improves your mood.
8. Say positive self-love affirmations
Reciting affirmations on a daily basis has a great long-term impact on your mood. Here are 14 self-love affirmations to feel better.
9. Clean your space
10. Get moving outdoors
Combine the powers of fresh air and exercise, even walking does the trick. Even when it’s not a sunny day or raining, being outdoors will help boost your mood.
11. Drink water
You can get headaches or feel slow and down when you don’t drink enough water. This often happens to me towards the end of a workday afternoon.
12. Do a hobby
Even if it’s for a short amount of time and you might not feel like it, doing one of your hobbies will help you to feel better. After all, it wouldn’t be your hobby if you didn’t like doing it.
13. Listen to inspiring and/or motivational podcasts
You can do this during your commute, for example, or when you’re taking a walk (see point 10).
14. Listen to music
Music you enjoy, of course. Completely losing yourself in a melody, lyrics and sounds of different instruments transports you to a different world (and mood).
15. Have a spa session at home
Or some type of skin/hair self-care treatment. Read here how to have a spa at home and treatment ideas.
16. Watch a movie/series
Preferably a comedy, to make you laugh. My go to series when I’m in a bad mood is Friends!
17. Read a book
Reading helps you take your mind off things and draws you into the world of the book’s story. I get my books from BookDepository, they offer free worldwide shipping!
18. Eat dark chocolate (at least 70% pure)
Yay, a scientific excuse to eat chocolate! Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that create feelings of pleasure. It also contains serotonin, an antidepressant that elevates your mood.
19. Do a braindump of what’s bothering you
Write out your thoughts and anything that’s bothering you at the moment. It doesn’t have to be in any structured way, they could also be single sentences and words jotted down on a piece of paper. It’s a way to get the feelings out of your head.
20. Do a gratitude exercise
Being grateful for the good things in your life or any recent positives, whether big or small, boosts your mood. You can find gratitude exercise ideas here.
21. Take a power nap
Sometimes you may feel down because you’re just so tired. A power nap of 20 minutes can do wonders, just make sure you don’t nap longer than that because then you will feel more groggy than before.
22. Block social media
Block social media at least for a few hours. Spending too much time on social media and getting notifications can really mess with your mood. Taking regular breaks not only improves your mood but has many other benefits, such as an improved focus.
23. Smell citrus scents
Use an oil diffuser or scented soy candles to smell citrus scents. Probably not a tip you expected, but your sense of smell is connected with your emotional state. Citrus scents are uplifting and lower stress levels.
24. Do something creative/crafty
25. Watch inspiring/positive TED talks
TED talks motivate, educate and inspire. They cover many interests, so there is most likely something that will draw your attention. But don’t go to YouTube, because you will get distracted by other ‘recommended’ videos. Watch it on the TED website itself.
Let’s get started to improve your mood
No matter what got you in a bad mood, it’s in your hands to make yourself feel better and boost your mood.
I hope one or more of the 25 ways to improve your mood has helped to uplift you.
Share this post with anyone you think might benefit from it too!
Disclaimer: these are tips and ways to improve your mood. If you feel that your mental health is in a difficult place or are experiencing any thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please seek out immediate professional assistance.