This article has been published on The Huffington Post.
Looking for some mood-boosting inspiration?
Slowing down during the winter months and resting is a natural bodily response to wintertime, and allowing for extra downtime is healthy during this season of hibernation.
However, sometimes a pick-me-up is needed. Maybe you are stuck in a stale routine, tired, or feeling melancholy more often than not.
There are many positive health benefits to these simple, yet powerful actions, listed below.
Incorporate even one of these actions into your routine to brighten up your day and to cultivate a new, hopeful perspective on life.
Of course, if you have been feeling depressed and your emotional state has become unmanageable, please consult a doctor or therapist for additional support and guidance.
Take A Walk
For decades, science and medicine have supported the notion that taking a walk is beneficial for our mind and body. Studies show that walking increases creativity, decreases anger and hostility, reduces body fat, decreases the risk of chronic disease, and releases those feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Taking a walk doesn’t require much preparation! Simply grab your coat and head out the door. Even walking inside a building, such as a mall, can have an uplifting affect. Pressed for time? A 20-minute walk can still work wonders.
Light a Vanilla or Citrus Scented Candle
Want to change up the energy in your home, relax after a long day, or cheer up? Light a candle, preferably one with a vanilla or citrus fragrance. Vanilla aromatherapy has been shown to reduce stress and promote restful sleep, while citrus is a proven mood-booster. I’m a fan of Big Dipper Wax Works beeswax candles for citrus scents. I also love to light a Tahitian Vanilla candle by Chesapeake Bay Candle (available at Target) when I get home from work.
Grow A Plant
Growing plants inside is proven to help reduce stress and clean the air of toxins. Indoor plants have also been shown to increase recovery time and promote healing, as well as increase attention and productivity. Popular indoor plants include Pothos, English Ivy, and Aloe, among others. Support a small business by purchasing your indoor plants from a local nursery or flower shop.
Play With A Dog or Pet
Owning a pet can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In particular, studies have found that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets, and that playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax the central nervous system. Furthermore, pets reduce the likelihood in children of developing allergies, improve socialization skills, strengthen the immune system, lower the risk of heart attack, help combat feelings of loneliness, give owners a sense of purpose, and offer unconditional love. Looking to adopt or volunteer? Check out an animal shelter near you.
Call A Friend
Though it’s much easier to text and e-mail our friends, taking the time to call a friend has long-lasting health benefits. Talking helps us to release tension, put things in perspective, and relax. Furthermore, it strengthens the bonds we have with our friends. Research shows that these talks are essential to emotional growth and mental health. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your phone and call someone!