Loneliness and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) have been labeled epidemics long before the pandemic. The last few weeks of summer means shorter days and colder weather without any place to really escape the continuous stress of, well, life, SAD might be hitting a little harder this year.
Keep reading for eight tips to boost your mood. Even if you can’t jet off to sandy beaches, a little mental escape can be just as valuable to brighten up the blues.
Wear Bright Colors to Boost Your SAD Mood
There may not be much clinical research on this, but there’s a reason we associate moods and feelings with certain colors. The warmer the color, the more inviting, cheerful, and cozy it makes you feel, while cooler colors are more calming and soothing. When people think of yellow, for example, they associate it with sunshine, warmth, and happiness, while green emotes balance and harmony with nature.
If your closet consists mostly of neutrals, try a bright throw pillow on your couch, or maybe a vase of your favorite flowers, or a new set of sheets. You can even try a pair of yellow tinted glasses, which block the artificial blue light we get from too much screen time, interfering with our circadian rhythms.
Reset Your Mood with Aromatherapy
If you’re stuck in a negative news cycle, try aromatherapy to reset your mood. Studies show that essential oils may interact with the parasympathetic nervous system to boost your emotions and health.
If you don’t own a diffuser, or there’s not time for a long drawn out bath, dab your pulse points with a few drops of Tonic. The jojoba oil carries essential oils like Orange Blossom shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and Cedarwood Virginia, which is known to facilitate relaxed breathing to help ease tension, enhance concentration, and encourage the onset of quality sleep.
Soak & Scent
Draw a warm bath for a body-balancing soak to naturally soothe discomfort and help prevent future irritation or infection. The combination of warm water and Orange Blossom increases blood flow to alleviate cramps. Dab it on your pulse points to help ease tension naturally.
Change Your Point of View—Literally
Don’t worry, we won’t get all preachy and tell you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Your stress and your fears are valid, no matter the circumstance. When we’re feeling stuck, sometimes, we just need to physically move to get out of a negative headspace.
Even if it’s just shifting from your desk to the couch to the kitchen table to work, or peeking outside your window for a few minutes to let your mind wander, changing your environment can be helpful in changing your perspective.
Take A Break From Screen Time to Give Your Eyes & Mind a Rest
We know that you’re literally looking at a screen now, but bear with us. It’s really easy to flit from Netflix to TikTok to work emails multiple times in an hour. And the distractions work for a bit. But it’s exhausting, and really bad for your eyes, and your sleep! Turn off your screens an hour during your lunch break, or two hours before bed to shift into rest mode.
Instead of scrolling social media, pick up a book you’ve been waiting to read, play a game of solitaire, or get crafty with old magazines and make a mood board collage.
Incorporate Daily Rituals to Have Something to Rely On & Look Forward To
With all the uncertainty in the world right now, most of reality is not a given. It’s shaped by your expectations, beliefs, and thoughts, often encoded into habits — conscious or not. Now, some habits are counterproductive (like immediately checking your social media notifications when you wake up) but we also need daily routines and rituals to rely on.
Building healthy habits and routines doesn't mean you need to wake up at 5am and schedule out your day by the hour. Your routine(s) are highly individualized and should be based on what you want to get out of life, rather than forced on you by others or external sources.
Maybe your morning routine is as simple as reading a chapter of a book while sipping coffee before logging in for work. Or taking a walk around the block while listening to a podcast or meditation. Maybe it’s putting your supplements out next to a glass of water on your nightstand so you don’t forget to take them. Maybe it’s a weekly spa night where you go all out with champagne and take out in the tub to celebrate getting through the week!
Whatever it is, the basis for a good routine means taking interest in and educating yourself about yourself, and looking after your physical and mental health. Remember: it’s not just about getting sh*t done. It’s taking care of you, for you.
Practice Good Emotional Hygiene
Socializing can definitely help when you’re feeling down, and while it can feel good in the moment to vent to a friend, it can also pass your stress onto the receiver. Other times, you simply don’t have the emotional energy to respond to texts or make FaceTime plans, and that’s okay too!
Instead of calling or texting a friend, try journaling to get a better grasp on your emotions. It doesn’t have to be poetic, or even full sentences. Just write your stream of consciousness without judgment. Getting your thoughts out without suppressing any emotion can help you rework them. By the end, you might find a few things you’re grateful for!
Regularly reflecting on moments, people, places, and things you’re thankful for can significantly improve your overall well-being. And it can be anything from a freshly toasted bagel to your favorite sweatshirt to a job promotion. Seriously, celebrate all the things.
Of course, if you’re struggling with your mental health, you should always reach out and ask for help — whether that’s your roommate, a parent, coworker, or therapist. No matter how short the days get or how dark the skies, you’re not alone, and there are people who want to help.
Just Say F*ck It & Let It Go
We don’t mean quitting your job and moving to a remote island (although…). No but really, science says swearing is good for you. Expletives can help us tolerate physical pain, like when you stub your toe or push yourself through another round of squats. In basic terms, swearing releases adrenaline, increasing your heart rate, and enables us to overcome or escape the perceived threat.
We also know swearing’s positive effects can be psychological as well as physiological. Cursing can give us a greater sense of control over a bad situation. Using profanity can show, if only to ourselves, that we are not passive victims, but empowered doers who react and fight back (without physical violence), which can in turn boost our confidence and even motivate us to take action.
Just proceed with caution, and only swear when you really need to let it out. Its emotional effects wear off with overuse, and there has to be the thrill of the taboo to reap the benefits.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to, 7 Cups will connect you with caring listeners, and if you need trained mental health support, please visit the Crisis Text Line.
How to Cope With Stress & Live in the Moment by Griffin Wynne (they/them)
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Momotaro Apotheca and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Momotaro Apotheca is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition.