Some days it feels like the only guarantee life provides is that it’s going to be messy and bumpy. You can’t run away to Bali, but you need some simple and low cost ways to boost your mood.
When the chaos of running from one activity to another drives your stress into the stratosphere, or your head and heart need a break from your overflowing days, here are 26 mood-boosting activities to try.
26 bad mood busters
The following are simple and low cost self-care practices that bring you more into the present moment. In any mindfulness practice, consistency is more important than how long you to do it or what method you choose for stress relief.
1. Read a book (a FUN book, not work related) Try Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love if you’re craving some far off adventures.
2. Read a magazine (I love People magazine)
3. Check out a digital book from your local library.
4. Grab your kids crayons and color for a while.
You can also use the crayons, or colored pencils, and shade in mandalas while playing relaxing music.
5. Do something creative (crafts, write, sew, knit)
6. Fun movement like dancing, hula-hooping
get outside to elevate your mood
7. Sit on your patio
If I can’t make it to the patio, I hide myself in the closet with the lights out and just sit. I listen to my breath and enjoy the silence (Yes, I love silence). If my mind is really active, I might repeat an affirmation (or mantra) or count my breaths.
Sometimes finding ten minutes of peace and quiet happens at ten-thirty at night when everyone in the house is asleep. For early birds, this can mean waking before everyone else doe
8. Drink your coffee while listening to the birds.
9. Get closer to nature. (A walk or hike, sitting on a park bench)
10. Take a walk (or take your dog for a walk)
I’m not sharing rocket science tips here. There’s no big mysteries to walking. However I have one suggestion. Go without “stuff.” Like your phone, playlist, the dog, the kids. Those, unfortunately, are all distractions.
This also isn’t a pump your arms, push the baby stroller, work-out kind of walk. This is a leisurely stroll.
As you’re walking, connect with your breath and find a rhythm between your steps and your breath. Then take notice of what you haven’t before. I like to make it a game. How many new or different things can I find this time?
11. Go to the park
12. Go to a dog park and watch the dogs frolic
13. Take your dog to a dog park
14. Sit by a fountain
self care mood boosters
My son loves this and I’m pretty fond of the practice, too. Maybe you can trade foot rubs.
16. Take a nap
17. Take a bath
18. Take a social media sabbatical
With so much information (good and bad) spreading through social media, one of the biggest gifts you can give your mind is to shut it all off for a while. Remove the apps from your phone and vow to go 24-hours without checking in.
20. Listen to relaxing music
21. Do some stretching or restorative yoga.
Stress likes to hang out in your muscles and stretching is a great way to break up the party. We all need to trust our bodies more, believe it when it’s telling you what it needs.
And yes, you don’t need an hour for it to be beneficial. Ten minutes here and there really will make a difference.
22. Have an at home retreat.
fun ways to boost your mood
Somewhere along the path to “maturity” we lose our abilities to play and have fun. Responsibilities outweigh running around in the sprinklers. When in the world did we wake up with sticks up our butts?
Women don’t get in the pool with their kids because they feel fat in their bathing suits. Men work, work, work and when they come home are too exhausted for a romp around the room with the kiddos. (Or maybe men feel fat in their swim trunks and women work too much.)
Stress releases hormones jack you up, and not in a good way. Laughter releases endorphins that mellow you out, totally in a good way.
23. Watch a funny In-Theater Rental or Netflix movie. Turn off the lights, make some popcorn, toss in some m&ms, and enjoy the show.
24. Watch a Friends or Big Bang Theory marathon (laughing decreases stress)
25. Have a girl’s night out (or in). Nothing like time with the BFFs to have you laughing and feeling lighter.
26. Do something you enjoy (if it wasn’t already listed)
Reading is my number one way to re-charge. In what could only be a prophetic moment, last week I bought a new book from Target. However, it’s sat on my nightstand until 10:00 last night when I desperately needed to escape. It helps my mind let go of the worries, and gives the hamster a break from her wheel.
What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, crossword puzzles, painting, journaling. . .pick your favorite and disappear into it for ten minutes. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to do it.
Your family will thank you for it.
Ok, probably not, but your sanity will.