By Grace Kim, Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia
We are well under eight months into the current COVID-19 pandemic that started back in early March. For some, the pandemic has been the perfect opportunity for rest, reconnecting with those we lost touch with and completing tasks we’ve been putting off for some time now. For many of us, this pandemic has resulted in self-isolation, loneliness, financial stress, repressed childhood trauma due to excessive family time and so much more. We don’t know exactly when the current state of things will come to an end and resume to some degree of normalcy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take measures to elevate our mood in the midst of hardships.
Here are some sweet suggestions for improving your mood:
Quick 1-minute fixes:
- Smell certain scents—Inhaling the scent of orange (or essential orange oil) or lavender can reduce anxiety and improve mood.
- Chew gum—The repetitive action of chewing gum can enhance relaxation and reduce anxiety and stress.
- Expose yourself to green—Color psychologists say green symbolizes happiness and can create the feeling of it, too. Throw on a green shirt, pick up a green pen and deck yourself out!
- Cuddle—Physical touch can decrease stress, make us feel happier and even improve our health. For those single folks out there, don’t fret! Even a quick hug from a friend or acquaintance can have positive benefits. Cuddling with a pet can also help us feel happier and less stressed.
- Laugh—Laughter cheers us up and decreases anxiety. The crazy thing is, it doesn’t even have to be “genuine” to have a positive effect! So even when things aren’t looking great and there’s no reason to laugh, do it anyway!
- Do something new—Even adding something small to your day can brighten up a day. Order a green tea instead of a coffee; take a different route to work or the grocery store; wear something you normally would never wear.
- Declutter—Getting organized can instantly make us feel calmer. Start with tackling a small project, like a desk or kitchen table.
- Get some sun—Numerous studies have shown the effects of Vitamin D on mood elevation. Head outside for a quick walk. If that’s not possible, station yourself near a window and bask in the rays.
- Rearrange your space—Changing our environment can help us feel refreshed and enable us to come out of a negative mood.
- Invite distractions—Step away from worries for a few minutes and get absorbed in something neutral and mindless, like folding laundry or washing dishes. The repetitive actions of these chores can help bring our mind into the present.
Tried every tip on this list and still in a funk? Give it time. We can’t force ourselves to be in a good mood, but remember, no mood lasts forever. If your foul mood lasts for two or more consecutive weeks, please seek professional help and talk to someone. We, here at Healthy Minds Therapy, are ready and willing to support you through these difficult times.