As the holiday craze saunters in and the countdown to the end of the year begins, life's level of chaotic can feel like it's in overdrive. This can result in mental health becoming less of a priority and burnout taking on new meaning, which can leave many of us feeling stressed AF and insanely depleted. Not only is seasonal affective disorder a real thing, but the past two years have been trying. To say it lightly, life has been life'n. This also means that we have to extend ourselves more grace because we are all having our own human experience.
We wanted to round up some ways you can balance your mood for those days when you need a little extra help. Ahead, find some tips and tricks approved by experts.
Journaling is a surefire way to add some sunshine to your life. According to Mental Health Therapist, Breigh Jones-Coplin, journaling is honestly a game-changer for our mental health. "It is a way of release— externalization. Our brains take in so much information each day and the process of journaling can provide an "emptying" effect where we clear up cognitive and mental space. This can help us feel less foggy, less anxious, and ultimately more relaxed. Journaling also provides perspective."
According to Breigh, when we put our worries, fears, feelings, and thoughts on paper, they become a journal entry— something less real and something separate from us. "This allows us space to take a step back and see things for what they are and find clarity, which is definitely a mood booster within itself. My personal favorite benefit of journaling is that it slows us down and gives us space to reflect. Reflection is where learning and healing take place. Any time we can gift ourselves the gift of release, clarity, and reflection, it's a win."
Switch up your diet.
Turning to food when you're feeling stressed AF is normal for many folks. We just have to be mindful of how we manage that relationship with food and consume foods that level up our mood. Some of those foods include:
- Dark chocolate
- Spinach & leafy greens
- Yogurt & other probiotics
- Oats & nuts
Ten minutes of meditation was found to decrease future-oriented worrying and boost focus ability in the present. While it can be hard to mute your thoughts, it is the fastest way to reduce stress. For thousands of years, meditation has been used to free your mind and yes, the rest will follow. Benefits range from gaining a new perspective on stressful situations to increasing self-awareness to reducing negative emotions.
We have found that guided meditation helps with focus and relaxation. Apps like Shine and Headspace serve as a support system and self-care ritual full of daily meditations.
Take a digital detox.
We all need a digital detox every now and then. Constant connectivity is proven to affect work-life balance. Kendra Cherry, MS, via Verywell Mind writes, "That feeling of always being connected can make it difficult to create boundaries between your home life and work life. Even when you are at home or on vacation, it can be hard to resist the temptation to check your email, respond to a text from a colleague, or check in on your social media accounts."
Social media alone can make you compare your journey to others and that is the ultimate thief of joy. You can start your digital detox by muting notifications, spending more time in nature, or not going online when you wake up.
Move your body.
Between better heart health and increased endorphin levels, moving your body is essential. Dr. Gotlin of Mt. Sinai Hospital told Everyday Health, "Endorphins are our body's natural hormones that get released when we are doing something that requires a burst of energy — they are the things that make us perform, make us move."
According to the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, aerobic exercise is top tier when it comes to helping ease symptoms of depression.
For more inspiration, self-care, and healing tips, check out xoNecole's Wellness section here.
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