Well, today is one of those days…it’s cold, and grey. It’s been raining since ten o’clock last night. In an ideal world, i’d have spent the day cuddled up in bed, drinking cocoa, watching cartoons on Netflix with the girls, while those wonderful little cartoon birds chirped a happy little song as they cleaned up the house… Alas – real life sucks, and that’s not how our day went…
Yesterday was a public holiday here in Spain (Fiesta Nacional de Espana) so the girls didn’t have school. Luckily, i’d picked up Little Miss Sara’s winter uniform on Tuesday (yip – even the nursery school has a little uniform – shorts and a t-shirt during the summer, and a tracksuit for the winter). I was so impressed with myself for being prepared… Ha! The whole lot of it – Too Big! The pants a good 15cm too long, and the sleeves – those things went past her knees! So much for that idea! So, this morning it was Peppa Pig track-pants, official school t-shirt, and random orange sweat shirt… hmmm…
“And ‘Mom of the Year’ Award goes to…”
But that’s not all… It gets even better… 🙂 As we were about to leave, to walk the one and a half blocks to school, i realized that i’d misplaced the rain-cover for the new stroller. It wasn’t really raining at that point (and luckily we do have an old one from her previous pram) so i grabbed that just in case, and headed out the door. Everything was going just fine until about 40 meters from the nursery school’s front door… It started with three or four heavy, fat, little drops, almost in slow motion – oh for Pete’s sake! Please! No! – then it it happened… the sky exploded! 40 meters… it’s actually nothing, but i’ve never ran like that in my life! Little Miss Sara crying, Mama sopping wet, all the other Parents Staring…
Needless to say, not the best morning ever…
I’m actually one of those people that’s normally in a pretty good mood. I tend to be a relaxed, happy person, and chances are, if we bump into each other on the street, i’m going to have a smile on my face. More often than not, it’s even going to be genuine. But every now and then, there are days like this. Horrible, nasty, stinking days like this… It’s okay – i know, everybody get’s them. Luckily, a bad mood, or that ‘feeling down’ doesn’t last forever.
Here are some of the little things i’ve found that make the biggest difference…
1. Smell the coffee
Concentrate your senses to focus on the simple pleasures, like the smell of that cup of coffee that’s been waiting in the kitchen all morning (just pop it in the microwave – it’ll be okay…), or the feel of your little one’s eyelashes brushing against your cheek as they hug you ‘good morning’. These special experiences can help bring you back into the moment. It’s also often the simplest little things that give us the most pleasure and remind us exactly what all the hard days are for.
2. Sneak off for an hour of Mom’s Favorite TV shows
Sneak an hour and watch your favorite television show. I remember binge watching 8 episodes of Friends at a time – laughing my head off! The neighbors must have wondered who that crazy lady was, laughing so loudly at 1 o’clock in the morning! My tummy hurt from laughing, but i had killer abs! 😉 Anyway… That was years ago… Nowadays, i’m lucky if i catch 10 minutes of anything other than ‘Peppa Pig’ or ‘Ben and Holly’. Hhhmm…. Yes, stealing an hour for ‘Mom TV time’ is definitely a great way to boost your mood!
3. Fake a smile
An American study has shown that frowning (pushing the brow muscles together) actually causes people to feel angry, even if the participants were watching cartoons. On the other hand, participants that were asked to smile found that they felt happier. If anyone knows how to plaster one on, it’s us Moms! Moral of the story… Fake it till you make it! (Now, if only i get my teen to read that study, maybe i could get her to try a smile every now and then too…)
4. Get active
Exercise can be as beneficial as taking an a mild anti-depressant for those that suffer with bouts of milder depression. A great way to get motivated is to join a fitness club, or to sign up for a charity activity, like raceforlife (cancer research) or walkforlife. You’ll be doing your mood, your psyche, and your body some good all in one go! Let’s be honest though, even with all those benefits, we know it’s not easy… If you need some extra encouragement, why not get a friend to join too. You could even turn it into a Mommy Daughter (or Son) thing, and take the kids with – no babysitter required!
5. Turn up the tunes!
Listening to your favorite music can improve your mood drastically. Music can remind us of happier times, make us feel more energetic, and decrease anxiety. One of my favorite things to do when i’m feeling down is listen to some music from my childhood – for me, it’s all the rock classics my Dad ‘forced’ 😉 us to listen to (The true heroes – Creedance Clearwater Revival, Dire Straits, Def Leppard, Van Morrison and so on). In my search for music therapy, i discovered the best music nostalgia site – you have to check it out. The Nostalgia Machine lets you put in a year, and throws out a classic! Absolute magic! So, turn the volume up, and go for it! Dance like no one’s watching!
6. Drink a cup of banana tea
Boil the skin of a banana in water for 15 minutes, let cool, then sip the water. It’s suggest to have this tea in the evening, once a day, or several times per week. Researchers in Taiwan have found that banana peel contains several ingredients that increases serotonin levels, our ‘happy hormone’. It might not taste great, but there are o many benefits to drinking banana peel tea, it really does seem to be worth giving it a go… just take a look at what doctorshealthpress.com says about banana peels – fascinating stuff!
7. Buy flowers
Even if you buy them for yourself, having flowers in the house is a sure-fire way to boost your mood! A Rutgers study in New Jersey found that people that enjoyed the beautiful colors and wonderful smells of fresh flowers in their homes on a regular basis reported a greater sense of enjoyment and increased general satisfaction with life. Pick up a bunch of cheap flowers from your local supermarket, a block of the green floral foam, and create your own masterpiece! You can even get the kids involved and turn it into a fun afternoon activity! I don’t know about you, but it’s a good enough excuse for me – i think i’ll pick some up today!
8. Take a Cod Liver supplement
Norwegian Scientists have found that taking a spoonful of cod liver oil a day can reduce a persons risk of depression by a staggering 30% ! They believe that the omega 3 fatty acids that it contains are responsible for this impressive finding. Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in other oily fish, like salmon and mackerel, so don’t forget to include them in your family’s meals as often as possible for a happy, healthy family.
9. Get sketching!
Drawing and painting can have a positive effect on our mental health. It’s said that taking part in art and craft activities can cause a person to feel more motivated about life in general and can help develop a better sense of self-confidence, both factors which contribute to general feelings of happiness. A wonderful art activity for people of all ages is coloring, so choose your favorite page, pick up a pack of Chameleon Color Blending Pens and feel your mood lift!
10. Have some chocolate
Cocoa contains a natural chemical called phenylethalamine, which scientists believe can cause mild feelings of euphoria, similar to those that we feel when falling in love. A little piece (or three) can give us the kick we need to get back to our normal selves. So, there you have it, scientific proof of what we’ve known forever… chocolate really does make everything better!
11. Give someone else a HUG
Personally, my favorite way to boost my mood is grab my littlest monkey and squish her tight. Just knowing that i have my family around always makes me feel better. Taking a moment to appreciate what you have, and the special people in your life, is a great way to put things into perspective. It always helps put a smile back on my face.
Even just having sat down, slowed down, and typed this has put me into a better mood. I don’t type particularly fast and i ‘spose it kind of centers me!
Do you have any tricks of your own for when a bad mood strikes?
Big hugs xx
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Still feeling down? A little birdy mentioned retail therapy…