When you have a bad day, it can seem like everything in your life is painted in gray brushstrokes. Mild traffic that doesn’t normally bother you sends you into a rage. The wrong ad or billboard reduces you to tears.
However, you have more power to control your mental state than you probably realize. By taking care of your physiological needs and creating a nurturing environment, you can lift your spirits. Here are eight simple things you can do at home to improve your mood.
Did you know that clutter can stress you? The excess stimulus overwhelms your visual field, reminding you of all the chores you have left to do. It’s like staring at a neverending to-do list.
Fortunately, you can Marie Kondo your pad and experience more joy every time you open your front door. Make a list and tackle one small chore each weekend. Once you get everything the way you like it, practice one-in, one-out living. Before you purchase something new, figure out what you want to sell and donate.
Did you get into the pandemic gardening craze? You don’t need acreage or even a yard to enjoy the simple pleasure of making things grow. A windowsill is sufficient for an herb garden that will add spice and vital phytonutrients to your diet.
The more plants you bring into your home, the better the benefits for your health. Houseplants help purify your indoor air from toxins like formaldehyde that can lurk in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). You’ll find VOCs in everything from new carpeting to furnishings to paint. Furthermore, plants emit substances called phytoncides that can improve immune function — a useful trick in a pandemic.
Do you and your partner need to strengthen your bond? Pampering each other with a massage or a mani-pedi can help you feel closer. Plus, you don’t have to drop a bundle on a pricey salon.
Household items make excellent tools. For example, a hot towel can help improve your circulation, encouraging damaged tissues to repair and easing muscle soreness from exercising. You can alleviate sinus pressure by placing one over the bridge of your nose — try this trick during cold and flu season.
Are you looking to decrease your Alzheimer’s risk? You might want to crank up the tunes and dance. Doing so produces endorphins that instantly improve your mood, but that isn’t the only benefit.
Researchers investigated the impact of various activities on cognitive function, such as crossword puzzles or biking. They found that dance had the most preventive effect on staving off dementia. Combining physical activity with the mental focus of following the moves inspires neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to form new connections between cells.
When was the last time you cooked a gourmet meal? It doesn’t matter if you live alone. You don’t have to throw a dinner party to treat yourself.
Instead, pick up the ingredients at your local farmer’s market. You’ll be able to portion what you need to avoid excess leftovers, and the food will be among the freshest and most organic you can find. Set the table, light a candle, and make dining an experience.
You don’t have to wait for formal occasions to make your home into a haven. A few touches lend a spa-like atmosphere that makes you say “aah” when you walk in your front door.
An aromatherapy mister adds healing scents without the associated fire risk and potential toxins of scented candles. Soft throw pillows and blankets invite napping on the couch. A few scattered books and end table lamps make you want to curl up with a juicy novel.
When was the last time you got the gang together? You don’t need an occasion to throw a spontaneous potluck.
This party style lets everyone contribute a favorite dish, minimizing your prep work. All you have to do is provide a few savvy recipes for those with food allergies and restrictions and enjoy the time with friends.
A simple way to bring smiles to your family members’ faces is to break out game night. You can go with classics or try something new. Many dollar and discount stores have a variety from which to choose.
A simple deck of cards can transform a boring evening at home into a night at the Vegas poker tables. Learn several variations of the classic game to play with those you love.
You can take proactive steps to bust through your blues. Do these eight simple things at home to improve your mood, starting today!
About the Author
Mia is a health and wellness writer and the Editor In Chief at Body+Mind. She specifically enjoys writing about women’s fitness, as well as mental health-related topics. When she’s not writing, Mia can usually be found reading poetry, taking a dance or cardio class, or hiking.