Being an adult and parent involves so many ups and downs, so many trials and tribulations, so much emotional upheaval that sometimes we just want to escape it all. The news has been particularly heart-breaking lately with hurricane damage and shootings, and it feels almost impossible to shield our children from all that is happening around us. We can easily become weighed down by the negative things in life, and it can seep out onto our kids. Moods are contagious, after all, and keeping our spirits up feels like a lot of work some days.
It can be easy for us to go to a dark place, but we can’t let our moods control us. We need to find the inner strength and peace to keep moving forward for our children and for ourselves. It’s hard, I know. I’ve had to rely on doing little things to keep my mood lifted, especially lately.
Here’s what’s helped me:
1. Light a Candle
Aromatherapy is known for being a huge mood-booster. Certain scents can calm you, make you remember a special memory, or cause you to start craving warm apple pie like your grandma used to make — which can get you in the kitchen or out to your favorite bakery, things which can be mood-boosters in and of themselves. Even if you prefer unscented candles, there is something about the ambience that is soothing. Turn the lights down low and light a few candles at dinner or draw yourself a bath and make it feel a little special by surrounding yourself with delicious, relaxing smells.
2. Wash Your Sheets
While we don’t actually love the washing part, there is nothing that makes me feel as refreshed at the end of the day like slipping into fresh, clean sheets. They smell good and make me feel like I have my life together a little more than I actually do. And for a really fresh feeling, I like taking that long candle-lit bath, shaving my legs, then getting right into bed. I always fall asleep instantly.
3. Reach Out to a Friend
Even if we don’t feel social, getting out to spend time with a friend or simply exchanging a few texts can shift our perspective. It’s very hard to get out of our own heads sometimes. We’ve all had a day when the same thoughts churn around in our minds and get worse throughout the day. Sometimes all it takes is to be there for someone else or vent when we are struggling.
4. Help Others
This has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to boost happiness. There is something so satisfying about helping another person. It can improve mental and physical health and is extremely contagious. And the world can always use more helpers, that’s for sure. Donate, volunteer, ask an elderly neighbor if she needs help with meals. Return a grocery cart for a mom who has her hands full. There are so many little acts of kindness we can do every day that don’t require a lot of time, money, or energy. Can you imagine if we all did five small things a day that helped someone else? Life-changing, I tell you.
5. Pay for the Person Behind You in the Drive-Thru
I love doing this, especially when I am having a craptastic day. Seeing the look on a stranger’s face when you pay for their meal or their coffee is worth every penny. In fact, knowing you’ve made a difference in their day is priceless.
6. Buy Some Fresh Flowers
Just the sight of a beautiful bouquet on your dining room table or in your bedroom is a reminder of all the beauty Mother Nature hands us every day. There is no shame in buying yourself your favorite flowers — they smell fantastic and brighten up a room. If you have a green thumb, don’t save them for the gardens only. Cut some and admire all your hard work from inside too.
7. Make a Healthy Meal
It’s fun to scroll Instagram or Pinterst and make a healthy meal. Even better, get your family involved. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes throwing a few ingredients in the Crock-Pot and using special dishes on a random Thursday night can feel special.
8. Look Through Old Photos
I did this the other day while looking for a baby picture of my son. He was born before the days when we only took pictures on our phones. Either way, it is fun to go back in time. Being taken out of the present moment and remembering a simpler time can be a good reminder of just how lucky we are to have such special people and memories in our lives.
9. Treat Yourself
New perfume or new bath towels, or nail polish, or lacy underwear. Anything that will brighten your day is worth it because you are worth it. Don’t feel guilty for treating yourself every once in a while. When I’m down, I love getting somenew perfume and jammies. It makes me feel feminine and is my favorite form of self-care.
10. Take a Walk
This always gets me out of my funk, and for good reason: Exercise is proven to lift your spirits. I did this the other day with my kids. We went for a hike on the woods down a beautiful trail. They did not want to go at first, but I didn’t give them a choice. I could see we all felt better after getting out there and airing out our shorts a bit.
These little things certainly won’t solve all the world’s problems, but every little bit helps.