1) Commit to a structured sleep schedule: bedding at the same time, waking at the same time, and ensuring you get at least 8 hours nightly. Sleep is our mind and body’s reset button. We need ample rest to reduce stress and improve overall mood.
2) Be mindful of your nutrition intake: try to hit all the major food groups in the course of your day and take in some fermented foods (e.g. yogurt, kefir, etc.); avoid processed foods. Know that your gut microbiome can create inflammation, and inflammation impacts mood.
3) Be social: put forth the effort to have at least one social interaction daily; can include text or social media messaging. Connectivity supports our mental health, but also recognize that everyone’s amount of optimal connectivity may differ. At least one contact daily, and earlier in the day to help get your day off and running in a positive way, makes a difference.
4) Move your body: establish routine physical activity. Even 10 minutes a day can improve mood. Thirty minutes a day is even better. Get your heart rate up a bit. Consider a brisk walk each day.
5) Be grateful: develop a daily gratitude practice where you call upon yourself to identify at least one thing for which you are grateful each day. Gratitude helps to rewire the brain to see the good or great, especially in times of struggle or hardship.
6) Affirm yourself: positive feedback can be so kind, motivating, and supportive of a healthy outlook about ourselves – which, in turn, benefits our mood. Given we cannot fully and entirely rely upon the external world around us to do this, we can integrate positive affirmations each day. “I am worthy” and “I am capable” are good examples. Figure out what you need to hear most and repeat it to yourself.
7) Remove “always” and “never” from your vocabulary: black and white thinking tends to trip us up and have us believing distorted things that can impact our mood negatively. Examples include “I’m never enough” or “I always mess things up.” Check the history to get some balance. Recall times when you were sufficient and when you did a great job.
8) Explore and learn about yourself: do an internet search for journal prompts or get a journal that has them built in to get the wheels turning. Self-awareness supports our personal growth and positive mood.
9) Meditate: one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the ability to be still and present. Meditation helps to activate a state of relaxation and calm, which supports our overall mood.
10) Access joy: find activities each day that bring you little ounces of pleasure or joy. Light a candle, read a book, listen to a motivating TedTalk or podcast, buy a coffee gift card and mail it to a friend, etc. Simple pleasures go a long way for our mood!