If you’re working at your job, caring for a new baby, driving kids around town, taking care of an elderly loved one or any combination of these, you probably don’t have the time, energy or patience to add one more thing to your to-do list, never mind 45 minutes of exercise. However, this one simple addition to your routine could improve how you feel, how you see yourself and how you face the world. Interested?
It Just Takes 45 Minutes
45 minutes of exercise in some form, just three to five times per week can have amazing physical and mental health benefits. If 45 minutes of exercise seems out of reach, think of each session as an opportunity for “me time” that could improve your mental well-being. You could also try adding these moments to your list of things to do, just so you can take pleasure in checking them off the list.
Often, the toughest part of any new physical routine is getting started, but there are extensive mental health benefits to doing just that. First, physical activity releases endorphins, which can trigger positive feelings in your brain and improve your mood. In turn, this boost in your state of mind can help you deal with bouts of anxiety and depression. It could lift your spirits and help you accomplish even more than you thought possible.
Additionally, being more active during the day can help you sleep better, which has its own rewards. Poor sleep and depression tend to reinforce each other, meaning that one often leads to the other and creates a vicious cycle. In this case, not sleeping well could lead to depression, which can lead to poor sleep, and so on.
Adding movement to your day can help improve self-esteem, especially if you find that your clothes fit a little better. After a few weeks of 45 minutes of exercise, you might even consider trying on some jeans that you haven’t worn in a while — just to see how they look and give yourself some encouragement.
Tips to Keep You Moving
Pick a time of day to exercise for 45 minutes and be consistent. Maybe you know that if you don’t move as soon as you get out of bed, you won’t fit your session into your day. Alternatively, maybe a sunset stroll can help you relax. You do you.
Make it fun. Play music and throw a private dance party. Just the sound of your favorite tunes could help improve your mood because it can trigger happy memories. Music also causes the brain to release norepinephrine and melatonin, which help you relax and sleep.
Try something new. Learn to hula-hoop or belly dance. Take up a new craft or art project. Check online for instructional videos or visit your local community college to take some classes.
Add some steps. Accompany the kids to the bus stop, take your dog for a walk or park your car in a space that is farthest from your door — anything to get yourself out for 45 minutes of exercise.
Mix it up. Walk outside one day, then dance in front of the TV on the following evening. Keep it fresh and flexible.
Chart your progress. Give yourself positive feedback. Whether you use pen and paper or an app on your phone, seeing progress toward your goal of 45 minutes of exercise can increase the likelihood of success.
Go outside and play. Being active outdoors on a sunny day enables your body to take in vitamin D, courtesy of the sun. Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Be sure to wear sunscreen if you plan to be outside for an extended time.
Make new friends. Being active enables you to interact with people, and socialization is vital to fighting isolation and depression. Stop by the local park, join a gym or walk to wherever people gather. Wave and strike up a conversation. 45 minutes of exercise will go by in no time when you’re having fun with friends.
Strive for 45
45 minutes of exercise for three to five days per week seems to be the sweet spot, but any increase in physical activity can be beneficial to your mental and physical health. To learn more, check out the accompanying resource.
Dan Borucki is an ISSA Certified Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer at Reclaim Fitness. He is committed to providing a level of service that is focused on the individual, whatever his or her needs and goals may be. Borucki strives to encourage, support and challenge his clients to feel stronger, healthier and more confident.
The bleak sky, the harsh cold, the barren trees—it’s easy to see why so many people experience seasonal depression during the winter after the jovial atmosphere of the holidays has passed. This can be especially hard on mothers as they juggle their responsibilities, especially since many now feel trapped within their homes with nowhere to go and kids to care for. To help you preserve your mental health, here are some home improvements that help with seasonal depression.
Adding a Fresh Coat of Paint
Variety is the spice of life, and seeing the same thing every single day can be demoralizing. Color has a surprisingly powerful effect on our mood, so to give yourself a small project and to uplift the atmosphere of your home, why not give it a fresh coat of paint? Try something warm and bright to inject energy into the room or a nice green to invoke feelings of nature and harmony.
Starting an Indoor Garden
Speaking of invoking nature, starting an indoor garden is not only one of the home improvements that help with seasonal depression but also a soothing hobby you can do with your kids. Being able to see your hard work grow into something so aesthetically pleasing will uplift your mood by filling you with a sense of pride and accomplishment. With an indoor garden, you also have complete control over the conditions of your garden, such as providing the right soil or installing the optimal light. This requires some extra effort, but it provides a bigger payoff as you grow some truly bountiful plants.
Finding Your Zen with Exercise
Exercise is recommended for healthier living, both physically and emotionally. When it’s still too cold to go out and exercise and the quarantine prevents you from going to public gyms, you can use a spare room or basement as your own little home gym space. Exercises such as yoga give you a chance to stretch and focus inward on yourself. If you want a more intense workout, cardio such as jogging on a treadmill is great for losing weight. Whatever exercise you decide on, your body will feel more limber and energized, which will in turn improve your mood and confidence.
Your home never has to feel like a prison. Take control of your surroundings, and give yourself a project that will not only fend off seasonal depression but also give you something on which to focus as we wait out this quarantine and the dreadful winter weather.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
Women need to practice self care because they take on a lot. Whether it’s a mom juggling the kids’ school and activities or a college graduate in the thick of their thesis paper, life can be quite exhausting. All of this overthinking and overworking can have a real impact on our mental health. That’s why every woman needs a day to themselves from time to time.
To get you started, here are six essential self care tips for that special day all to yourself!
Get Good Sleep
Sleep deprivation can have multiple compounding effects on the body. So without it, our bodies fail to repair damaged tissue, metabolize hormones, and even create memories or simply retain lessons learned. So, while women are stressed at work or worried about their kids in some way, it’s hard to shake it off before heading to bed.
To combat this, one essential self-care tip is to change your bedtime routine. Avoid foods with caffeine and sugar and, instead, drink some soothing chamomile tea. Another nasty habit women tend to have before bed? Checking their phone and watching television. For many reasons, it’s important to put these devices away or turn them off and on silent. Not only do they stimulate your brain when you should really be unwinding, but the blue lights screw with our melatonin hormone, which, in turn, confuses our circadian rhythms and disrupts proper REM. Instead, read a self-care book or write in a gratitude journal.
Other than your phone, keep bedroom lighting to a minimum to achieve proper sleep. Use blackout curtains and avoid using a nightlight, even in conjoining bathrooms. To get the best rest of your life, it should be perfectly pitch dark!
Be Mindful of What You Digest
This goes for food and everything that goes along with it—like nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Food is such a crucial role in how we feel, mentally and physically, and it can be affected on a daily basis. Reach for high-nutrient foods such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and brassicas (think broccoli and Brussels sprouts). The best way to be more mindful of what you digest is to know precisely what your body is absorbing. When you eat fast foods or takeout on a hurried day, you rarely stop to question what’s in it or from where it came. Instead, make sure you get the proper nutrients by creating a healthy meal at home, for family dinners or to carry into work for lunch.
Even if you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, you can have your local supermarket deliver weekly produce and ingredients straight to your doorstep. Not to mention, there is practically an endless variety of boxed meal delivery services from which to choose. Supplements can also improve our physical and mental health enormously. While it’s always best to first consult your physician or nutritionist, several supplements that could be beneficial are Vitamin D3, iron, omega-3, and even digestive enzymes.
Fresh air does more good for your body than you realize. So, it’s essential to remember to take a step outside every now and then. Seasonal Affective Disorder rears its ugly head in the winter as we tend to stay indoors, plan for the stressful holidays, and experience nothing but a cloudy gray haze. But it’s still important to get some sun and nourishing Vitamin D, which can be a real mood-booster.
You don’t have to go for a run—just a leisurely stroll in the park is enough. And, in doing so, you will also be getting some physical exercise, which will help clear your head and allow you to sleep sounder and deeper.
Organize Your Home and Thoughts
Sometimes, even the clutter we leave lying around can affect our mental state. It’s important to reassess the home every so often, declutter, and organize. Whether that means donating boxes to secondhand stores or gifting items to friends and family, tidying up your living space can leave you feeling refreshed. And that, in turn, can improve your mental clarity. Brightening up your space with new home treasures and décor can drastically change the look and feel of your home, bringing you a refreshing new outlook to your day to day!
When it comes to your thoughts, those need to be organized too, but in a different way. There are several ways to bring clarity to the mind. You can create lists as a way of “brain-dumping,” which can center or ground you, leaving you less overwhelmed about all the tiny menial tasks, and even big ones, too! Here’s a fantastic brain dump exercise to help guide you.
Slightly different than a brain dump, one essential self-care tip is to create a gratitude journal. It seems simple enough, but, by acknowledging the small moments and accomplishments you feel grateful for, you can let go of regrets and learn not to be so hard on yourself. You can start with morning affirmations and end with what you enjoyed about the day.
Meditate and Learn to Breathe Again
Chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole range of mental and even physical health issues. However, according to some studies, meditation has been proven to alter our heart rate and blood pressure, reducing these stress-driven health issues.
And this lies in the relationship between our diaphragm and our sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response. Breathing exercises that accompany meditation engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which essentially tamps down the “fight or flight” response that chronic stress brings. And, by breathing through the diaphragm, women can trick the mind and body into this parasympathetic response. Here are some beginner tips for developing a meditation practice.
Create a Self-Care Reminder
Every once in a while, a woman needs a day to themselves. And, with our hectic lives, it’s important to pencil it in, guard it, and cherish it. Make it a regimen and schedule it once a month, at least. But, until that day, also be sure to practice a little self-care in your everyday routine.
Author Bio: Carolyn Eberhart serves as the Digital Marketing Manager for Natural Life. Carolyn oversees all digital marketing efforts relating to Paid Social Media and Email Marketing remotely from Redwood City, CA. During the week she is passionate about her career, cooking, exercising and hanging out with her family and on Sundays you can find her cheering on the Buffalo Bills!
Postpartum depression symptoms can be triggered by different factors, making the recovery process much longer than it needs to be.
With a proper treatment plan, postpartum depression can go into remission. But postpartum depression triggers are internal or environment factors that can cause symptoms to flare up again. These can continue to affect mothers for years after the postpartum period.
It can be frustrating to battle symptoms of postpartum depression for years, and it might even feel like it will never go away. Identifying your specific triggers can help you to avoid them, which means you’ll be less likely to experience a postpartum depression relapse.
Here are some of the most common postpartum depression triggers to watch out for.
Our brains need sleep and there isn’t an acceptable substitution for it. No amount of caffeine, medications, diet changes or exercise can replicate what sleep does for our bodies. If our brains don’t get the chance to reset each night, they don’t function very well during the day.
Sleep deprivation is an especially big factor for postpartum moms. Babies have much shorter sleep cycles than adults do. This means that a mother’s brain isn’t getting the chance to fully “reboot” because it’s constantly being interrupted by a hungry baby. So it’s no surprise that sleep deprivation is one of the most common postpartum depression triggers.
Sleep deprivation is also not synonymous with the postpartum period. It can occur at any time in our lives. It can be caused by a baby’s sleep regression or teething, illness, stress, interrupted schedules or sudden changes, anxiety or even daylight savings time.
In order to get the most undisturbed sleep possible:
Enlist the help of your spouse or a family member for a night shift or two.
Get your baby into a good sleep routine, which can help you avoid sleep deprivation in the long run.
Breastfeeding is another one of the more common postpartum depression triggers. In fact, many mothers report feeling more stressed about breastfeeding than they did about labor and delivery. Breastfeeding can be a struggle and it can cause pain, frustration, shame and embarrassment.
Mothers who struggle with breastfeeding can feel guilty, unworthy, judged or end up feeling resentful and full of regret. All of these feelings certainly contribute to symptoms of postpartum depression. But some mothers found that breastfeeding eased their symptoms and helped them to bond with their babies. Each woman’s experience is so different, but if this is a trigger for you, know that you are not alone.
Education can be key to successful breastfeeding. While it’s promoted as “all-natural,” it doesn’t come naturally to the majority of mothers. Consider hiring a lactation consultant, or take an online breastfeeding course from home. If all else fails, know that it’s perfectly okay to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula for the sake of your mental health.
When we think of pregnancy and childbirth, we associate it with some form of pain. This is often thought of as a rite of passage and many mothers spend a lot of time preparing for it. But in some cases, the pain of childbirth can trigger unexpected feelings and suppressed memories.
A painful delivery or recovery can be one of the first postpartum depression triggers, but pain is a trigger that can linger long after the recovery period. When we experience pain in another form, such as menstrual cramping, pelvic pain, back pain or migraines, it can trigger the symptoms of postpartum depression again.
This trigger can be especially difficult to avoid due to the fact that pain comes in so many different forms. Identifying that pain is a trigger is a good first step. Experiment with different pain treatment options, such as CBD oil, and try to deal with the root cause of any chronic pain, in order to avoid being triggered long term.
The weight issue is another trigger that affects expectant and new mothers. During pregnancy, a woman can gain 20 – 40 lbs in the span of 9 months. And then immediately following childbirth, her body can look unrecognizable. There will be pressure to lose all the extra weight as fast as possible. She may also have to deal with a c-section scar, stretch marks, loose skin and sagging breasts.
These weight and body changes can have a significant effect on our mental health. Even if body image was not an issue for us prior to becoming a mother, postpartum depression can take a hit on our self esteem.
While maintaining a healthy weight is important, embracing our new bodies is equally as important to keep weight changes from triggering postpartum depression symptoms.
The fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy and in the postpartum period are completely normal. They are responsible for the extreme mood swings, weepiness and other symptoms referred to as “the baby blues.” It’s not unusual for hormones to also take all the blame when it comes to postpartum depression, however we know that there’s much more to it than that.
Certain hormonal imbalances can be postpartum depression triggers. Some women find their symptoms are triggered upon the return of their menstrual cycle or with another pregnancy. Certain illnesses can also cause hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid problems or diabetes.
Marriage and relationship problems can begin or get worse following the birth of a child and they are a major cause of stress and anxiety for both parents. Postpartum mothers are extra sensitive, irritable and sometimes prone to rage. They can be extremely difficult to communicate and reason with.
In addition to the lack of communication and mood swings, it can be really difficult to open up about all of these scary thoughts and feelings. Instead, women tend to shut down, retreat away from their spouses, and have difficulty with intimacy.
Despite how hard it might be, try your best to talk to your loved one about what you’re feeling. Getting an official diagnosis may help you both to understand what’s going on. Couples therapy is also a good option to help break down the barriers.
Grief is a major depression trigger that can affect postpartum moms. Pregnancy and welcoming a new baby are symbolized by joy, happiness and new life. It can be shocking when these actions cause an opposite effect, but sometimes they do.
A mother who previously suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a child may be triggered by grief upon giving birth to a healthy baby. Postpartum depression symptoms may also be triggered when a woman thinks of someone who previously passed away and isn’t present to meet their child.
Grief is a part of life and there’s really no avoiding it. If you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, talk about them openly. Talk to your baby about them, look at an album full of pictures or share stories about them. Try not to keep all that pain inside, and instead, memorialize the ones you have loved and lost.
Special occasions can actually be quite difficult for a mother with postpartum depression. Certain dates or holidays might stir up traumatic memories that are postpartum depression triggers. Plus, social anxiety and the desire to withdraw from conversation are common symptoms of postpartum depression. This makes it very hard to get together in large crowds, even if they are all people whom you love.
As these dates approach, try to be proactive about your condition. Take the day off work, scale down the festivities or plan a vacation instead. Changing your memories about that day might be hard, but not impossible.
Cold weather and rainy days can make anyone feel depressed but it’s much deeper than that. Depression thrives when a person feels isolated. And there’s nothing better at keeping a mom with a new baby locked up indoors than some bad weather. Hot weather can also encourage a new or expecting mother to seek out the cool air conditioning instead of a muggy back yard.
All this time spent indoors can deprive a mother of enough fresh air and sunshine. Combined with the other effects of seasonal affective disorder, the weather changes should never be underestimated as postpartum depression triggers.
Keeping a journal or mood tracker can help to identify if your postpartum depression symptoms are being triggered by the weather. If they are, then there are several easy therapies and common practices you can do to help avoid it.
Money problems are high on the list of depression triggers. For parents, adjusting to the financial strain of adding a baby to the budget can be difficult. In addition to the cost of diapers and daycare, a mother has to battle with the financial stress of staying at home instead of working – or feeling guilty for working instead of being home with baby.
Changes in finances are just one of the many overwhelming adjustments that a new mother will need to make, and it can be a big trigger for postpartum depression.
One of the best ways to avoid this is to prepare for the financial stress prior to giving birth. Meet with a financial advisor and make a plan for the future. To save some money, research which baby products are worth investing in, and which ones you can probably do without. And most importantly, stick to a budget to keep financial stress under control.
Changes in Treatment
To help fight all of these different postpartum depression triggers there are several different treatment options available. The variety of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications available means that you should be able to find one that works well for you, even if you have to try out a few first. Considering online therapy? Check out this detailed review of online therapy companies to help with your decision.
But beware when making changes to your treatment plan. Sudden changes to any of your medications can trigger symptoms of postpartum depression again. The same goes for stopping therapy sessions or another supplemental form of treatment. If money is the issue for stopping, you can find out more information about the cost of online therapy here.
Consider weaning yourself off slowly instead. If you plan on switching to a different medication, slowly wean off of the first one and gradually begin the second one. Obviously, speak to your doctor about any and all changes in your treatment plan. And make sure to be open about the symptoms you are experiencing, so that you can find the treatment that works for you.
Our mental health struggles evolve with the seasons.
Throughout the year, our mental health will go through a series of highs and lows. Whether you’ve been struggling with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety or another mental illness, you may find that it’s worse at different times throughout the year. In order to improve your mental health, you must consider all the different factors that each season brings.
Here are some ways that you can improve your mental health this year, broken down by months.
The first step to improve your mental health throughout the entire year is to start with a plan. You only have to plan out as much or as little of your year as you’re comfortable with. The simplest way to do this is with a calendar of the full year. You can choose a large desk calendar, a smaller personal calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal.
Start by filling in all your important dates. Write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, work schedules and appointments. If you have a vacation coming up this summer, write it on the calendar in great big bold letters! Don’t forget to schedule in your self-care time!
Then, make a list of goals you hope to achieve and put the dates you want to reach them on your calendar. Think outside the box when it comes to your goals, don’t be afraid to celebrate the small wins. For example, if insomnia is a problem for you, then set a goal to get one straight week of decent sleep. Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it every single day, and don’t forget to update it each month with new tasks and goals.
Having a plan in place, with attainable goals, will help you feel more organized and confident and ultimately improve your mental health.
Finally, the last of the winter months! Take some time this month to embrace the cold weather before it’s gone and enjoy all things warm and cozy. The Scandinavians refer to this practice as “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah).
The cold and darkness of the winter months can have a strong effect on our mental health, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder. But knowing that spring is right around the corner can bring a glimmer of hope and actually improve our mental health.
So celebrate the end of winter by getting in one last fire in the fireplace, drink all the hot cocoa and stay in bed as long as you want.
It’s time for some spring cleaning! But I’m not talking about dishes and laundry and other everyday tasks. One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to get rid of all the junk piling up in your living space. Decluttering your environment is a great way to declutter your mind as well.
Take a few tips from Marie Kondo and organize your spaces. Clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards. Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose or bring you joy. Sort through your paperwork and try to go digital wherever possible.
You don’t need to go full minimalist, but having clean, organized spaces can do wonders for your overall mental health.
With the arrival of spring, it’s the perfect time to try out your green thumb. Gardening is a form of ecotherapy that can help to improve your mental health. Escaping to your garden can be a form of self care, and there are many indoor plants that offer great health benefits.
Gardening is also an activity you can opt to do with the kids. Not only do they love playing in the dirt, but they can learn so much about the environment and where food comes from. If you have picky eaters, they’ll be more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve watched grow in their garden.
Plant some seeds this month and you’ll have something to occupy your mind all summer. Watching your seedlings grow will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that will boost your mood and self confidence.
Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to pamper that dry winter skin. Our skin and sense of touch has a big impact on our mental health. That’s why we can feel so overwhelmed and frazzled when we’ve been over-touched all day by our kids.
For months, our skin has been exposed to harsh temperatures, covered up and neglected. It’s time to book a spa day or massage and facial or even just plan some DIY pampering at home. Try out a new summer hairstyle, get a pedicure before breaking out the flip flops and switch to a lighter makeup routine for summer.
Focusing on your outward appearance can boost your confidence and improve your mental health.
Finally, the world is bright and green again. Spend as much time outdoors as possible this month. Your body has been deprived of Vitamin D, sunshine and fresh air for months, so get as much of it in as possible.
Go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride. Outdoor activities often feel less like exercise than going to the gym, and exercise is so important for maintaining your mental health.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your bikini body ready, either. Hang up a hammock, dust off your patio chairs or lie right on the grass and relax, completely guilt free. Even having your lunch or morning coffee outside will do wonders to improve your mental health.
You made it through the winter so sit back and enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you can.
Do you remember summer vacation as a kid? If you have fond memories of summer camp, beach days, camping trips or playing from sun up to sun down, then embrace that and be a kid again this month.
Plan some camping trips or beach days. Swim as often as you can, no matter what you look like in your bathing suit. Head to the splash parks and let loose. Take up a new sport that you’ve always to try. Channel your inner child and just have some good old-fashioned summer fun. Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures and maybe even put it together in an album to look at each year.
When you’re battling a mental illness, it’s probably been a long time since you had any real fun. Remembering a happy time from your childhood can help to improve your mental health in the simplest way.
This month, it’s time to focus on something that’s so important for our mental health, but often neglected. Our support system A.K.A. our friends. It’s not unusual to withdraw from society while battling a mental illness but what we don’t realize at the time is how important it is to have a strong support system around us. So focus on those friends this month.
Host a backyard BBQ or plan a group camping trip. Only invite the people you want to spend time with and don’t feel obligated to invite anyone who brings negativity into your life. If you’re not ready to be that social yet, then aim for a night out with a couple friends that you’ve been meaning to connect with.
Get out of your comfort zone a little bit this month, dust off your social skills and strengthen your social circle.
Back to school season means that everyone is learning something new, so why shouldn’t you? September is a great month to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.
Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do. You could start making sushi, learn calligraphy or take a photography class. The possibilities are truly endless. Check Pinterest, a local hobby store or your bucket list for more inspiration.
Distracting the mind with learning something new can improve your mental health by working your brain in a different way. Doing something artistic, such as painting, is a great way of expressing any bottled up emotions you may be harboring. And choosing something physical, like a new sport, can help to burn off any pent up energy.
Our minds love a challenge, so put your brain to work this month.
Just like that, the warmer weather is coming to an end. This can bring a sense of doom and gloom, even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder. The thought of winter coming back again, plus the added stress of the holidays can have a severe effect on anyone’s mental health.
It’s a way to remind yourself that you are in control of your own happiness.
Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you a selfish person. You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. With the holiday season coming up, your focus is going to shift to your family and friends and making the holidays memorable.
The most expensive part of the year is upon us. Now is a good time to have a look at your bills and budget and meet with a financial advisor. Fellow mom and Winnipeger, Sandi Huynen, knows what it’s like. Check out her website for more information.
This can be a stressful month for many different reasons: the financial strain, the stress of Christmas shopping, the long list of events, and anyone who has lost a loved one will miss them especially around the holidays.
One of the best ways to improve your mental health this month is to scale things down. There is a lot of pressure, especially on mothers, to make Christmas memorable. Mostly because, when we look back at our happiest memories – they are at Christmastime and we want that for our children as well.
But it’s not about the size of the tree or the gifts. It’s not about how many crafts or activities or advent calendars there are. The things we remember most about the holidays is getting together with everyone.
If you want to improve your mental health, scale back the holiday decorations and festivities and focus more on enjoying time with family.
Holidays can be exciting. But what about when they’re not?
For many people, the holidays can be stressful and offer more to dread than look forward to. Mothers suffering from a mood disorder can feel an added amount of pressure to make things special when they really don’t feel up to it and anxiety can worsen with all of the extra socializing. And anyone who has lost a loved one may miss them more than usual around the holidays.
Between the cold weather, long stretches of darkness and the financial strain of the holidays, it’s no wonder that up to 20% of people report suffering from seasonal affective disorder.
If someone you love is feeling down around the holidays, then consider one of these gifts from Etsy that are sure to boost anyone’s mood.
Warm, soft lighting is a great mood booster. One thing that often makes us feel down during the winter is the lack of sunshine. Anything that simulates natural light will help to boost our mood naturally.
Himalayan salt lamps are also very popular for their healing benefits and soft lighting. They are great for cleansing and purifying the air in a room and can promote a better night’s sleep.
Quotes and sayings that inspire us have a way of boosting our mood, both directly and subconsciously. Being surrounded by inspirational messages, whether it’s a framed print in our designated self care sanctuary, or worn on clothing and accessories, is a great way to remind someone of how strong they really are.
RaincityPrints does some beautiful work on famous inspirational quotes including everything from Buddha to the Gilmore Girls. You can have it professionally printed in different sizes, or get it in a digital file and print it yourself (a great last-minute gift idea)!
These gorgeous minimal cuff bracelets have a mantra engraved on them so not only will you look stylish, but you’ll have a little mood boost with you wherever you go.
Believe it or not, these are temporary tattoos! This collection from TattooMoments includes 14 tattoos that can last up to 7 days. This is a great way to show off a motivational message without the commitment of a permanent tattoo.
Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
The Gift of Comfort
Perhaps it’s our natural instinct to want to hibernate come cold weather, but nothing makes us feel happier than being warm and cozy. Comfort gifts are a great mood booster, not only because they make us feel good, but also because receiving one is like getting permission to be lazy all day.
If you’re gonna give a blanket as a gift this year, then you have to go with a weighted blanket. There are so many benefits of a weighted blanket for someone suffering from depression, anxiety or insomnia. Even those without a mental health condition will still benefit from the comfort of a weighted blanket. It’s like being wrapped in a giant hug. This one from LittleMimis comes in different weights, colors and patterns and can even be custom embroidered.
These socks are a great way of telling your loved one to put their feet up and relax. Don’t worry if they’re not a wine drinker because WineALittleGifts sells over 100 different designs, so you’re sure to find the right pair!
Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on a person’s mood. Help your loved one get better night’s sleep with this sleep mask set from LaAquarelle. It comes in a choice of organic fabrics and includes a lavender sachet you can put under your pillow to help you sleep.
Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to improve your mood. Even for a beginner, the practice of meditation can be easily incorporated into anyone’s self-care routine. While actual “tools” aren’t a necessity for meditation, there are several gift ideas that can help to enhance the experience.
Aromatherapy is an excellent mood booster and supplement to meditation. The wide variety of aromatherapy jewelry has become more popular and makes your favorite essential oils portable and easy to utilize. Check out this Etsy shop for a huge selection of beautiful pieces including necklaces, lockets, bracelets and more!
Tibetan singing bowls have been used in meditation for thousands of years. The tone they produce is designed to help relax the mind and body and drown out background noise to aid in focus and concentration. These bowls from SilentMindBowls are not only a stunning art piece, but useful for meditation and relaxation as well.
Indoor plants have so many incredible mood boosting benefits. Being surrounded by lush greenery indoors while everything lays dead and dormant outdoors is one way to keep spirits up during the winter. Choose a low maintenance option, such as this set of 12 air plants from AURAMORE. Air plants are a great way to incorporate greenery without needing to worry about pots and soil. Check out some of these air plant holders from Air Life Greenery.
Being bored and cooped up inside the house during winter will put anyone in a bad mood. For the holidays this year, consider giving the gift of creativity. If your loved one already has a hobby, then you’re off to a good start. But here are a few suggestions if they’re looking for something new to keep their mind distracted and to help lift their mood.
The art of calligraphy is so modern and popular right now. It’s also an art form that isn’t time-consuming, tedious or strenuous and offers a lot of different applications. With this beginner’s set from KirstenBurkeDesign, anyone can learn this fantastic skill, all while keeping busy to beat the winter blues.
Coloring and doodling offers a simple way to turn off the brain and soothe the mind. Using an array of bright colors can also work as a mood booster on the dark, grey days of December. This doodle journal from DOODLELovelyNow gives you space to write, doodle, color and more!
If you didn’t see something specific on this list that appealed to you, or if you just couldn’t decide, then consider giving an Etsy gift card instead. It can be printed or emailed to the recipient so it makes a great last-minute gift. And with thousands upon thousands of different things to choose from, it’s a gift that will definitely put a smile on someone’s face.
I know, firsthand, how difficult winter can be – no matter how much you love the holidays. The extreme high of celebrating with family and friends ends so abruptly, that it’s common for people to feel depressed shortly after the holidays are over. By giving a gift specifically to help boost their mood, you’re encouraging long-term happiness.