Keeping your spirits up during the pandemic can be tough. Especially when there’s restrictions around activities that would typically bring you joy. Maybe you miss the routine of going to the gym and getting your sweat on, or eating a sit-down meal in your favourite restaurant, or simply spending time with friends. When our lives have been disrupted for so long, it’s normal to feel low.
And the pandemic has definitely taken an emotional toll. According to a recent survey on COVID-19 and mental health from Statistics Canada, one in five Canadians aged 18 and older tested positive for at least one of three mental disorders including major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
That’s why it’s more important than ever to engage in safe activities that can help boost your mood and manage feelings of stress and anxiety. The good news is there are plenty of ways to put some pep in your step without breaking the bank or overhauling your lifestyle.
You can incorporate these 5 natural mood boosters into your routine.
1. Walk or run it out
According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, just 15 minutes of running or walking a day can decrease your chance of becoming depressed by 26 per cent! It may seem simple, but taking just one or two brisk walks around your neighbourhood could significantly increase your mood without requiring a major change to your daily routine.
2. Become one with nature
For many years now, researchers have studied the strong link between spending time in nature and its impact on reducing depression. Studies suggest that walking in a natural setting versus an urban one can reduce activity in the area of your brain responsible for negative thought patterns. So next time you’re stuck on a problem or challenge in your life, try heading to a nearby park — it could help appease the cycle of anxiety in your head.
3. Supplement your diet
If you’re feeling blue, there are natural supplements that could help boost your mood. Studies have shown the majority of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D, which could result in depression or other mood disorders. Try adding a daily supplement to your routine to combat a low mood and support your overall health.
4. Knit your way to stress relief
Get your needles ready — research has shown that hands-on activities like knitting can help improve mental health conditions and boost your mood. In fact, a study found knitting can have a positive impact on your wellbeing and quality of life, and can even boost cognitive function. There are plenty of resources online to help you get started with learning how to knit, including a chic beginner’s kit like this one from Etsy.
5. Do some spring cleaning
When you’re feeling down, cleaning your house may be the last thing you want to do. But since our environment directly impacts our mood, cleaning or decluttering actually comes with several mental health benefits. Plus, completing a task like doing the dishes or reorganizing your sock drawer has been proven to release dopamine in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward.
See if you can incorporate even a few of these 5 natural mood boosters into your daily life – it’s crucial to make your mental health a priority so you can reach your full potential.
Looking for more easy ways to boost your health? We’ve got you covered.