7 small but powerful habits to lift your mood

BY DBS, 26 AUG 2021

It’s okay to feel a little blue once in a while, but if you feel super exhausted or overrun by tasks, you may be headed for burnout.

Making simple changes to your daily routine can not only help you feel better ASAP, it also protects your mind and body from further stressors.

Simple steps to combat burnout

1. Sit, Stand, Walk

The premise is simple: if you’re sitting down at your desk, set a timer for 20 minutes. When it goes off, stand up for 8 minutes and then take a 2-minute walk after that. This simple physical activity activates the muscles in your legs and abdomen and lowers your blood pressure.

2. Spend 20 minutes on HIIT

It’s no secret that exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which keeps stress at bay. HIIT is one way you can get some physical exercise in without sacrificing too much of your downtime. There are tons of YouTube videos you can watch to get started! Remember to take it slow if you’re new to it – the last thing you want is to hurt yourself.

3. Take 3 minutes to express your gratitude

Humans are naturally hardwired with a negativity bias that gives us a tendency to remember the bad more than the good, so much so that one negative news article or event can weigh on our minds for weeks or even months. Taking 3 to 5 minutes every day to write down or speak aloud the things you are grateful for each day rewires our brain into taking in the positive experiences and good things that are in your life. You can keep a gratitude journal or take a few minutes at dinner conversations to express gratitude.

4. Take a hot shower before bed

A lower body temperature sends signals to your body that it’s time to rest and taking a hot shower right before bed will do the trick.

Here are other tips to get a restful, longer sleep:

  • Sort out a daily sleep routine and keep it screen-free an hour before bed

  • Keep your room pitch black and keep the noise out

  • Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock and keep it in another room. Your brain is wired to view your phone as stimulation so having it in the room with you will disrupt your rest.

  • Have a ‘dump pad’. This is where you write down all your thoughts and worries before bedtime so you can unload all that’s on your mind.

5. Take a deep breath

Take three deep breaths in between tasks. This will give your body a chance to relax and helps your mind reset before it focuses on the next thing. Think of it as wiping and setting the table for your next meal.

6. Take time to reflect on yourself and your relationships

You’ve probably heard this many times: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, and there’s some truth to it. If you surround yourself with happy, healthy people, studies have shown that you’re more likely to be happy and healthy. The reverse is true too.

While you ponder over whether you surround yourself with the best kinds of people, take time to look inwards and ask yourself: what kind of impact do you want to make on the people around you? If you’re not there yet, take it as a goal you can work towards.

7. Eat slow

Mindless eating can make us feel sluggish and lower our overall mood. It takes about 15 minutes for your brain to pick up signals that you’re full, so wait about 10 to 20 minutes before helping yourself to seconds.

Every once in a while, take a breather and remember that happiness is not a constant state – we all experience ups and downs. If you find yourself feeling increasingly overwhelmed, making some tweaks to your daily routine and finding mini rituals you can stick to can be therapeutic. In addition, look to loved ones for support and to share your emotions with. Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint!

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