Have you been feeling a little down lately? Mentally, physically, and spiritually, the last year and half has taken a major toll on people. Many of us are facing challenges that feel stressful, overwhelming, and scary. The events going on around you cause strong emotions. Public health actions, like quarantines and social distancing, are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but they can make us feel isolated and lonely. Social media is causing an increase in stress and anxiety. You’re watching the news about everything from the weather to politics seems to be getting worse. Maybe you haven’t been sleeping well or eating the way you know you should.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that you do have some measure of control over how you feel. You can’t fix what’s going on around you, but you can control yourself. Keeping yourself healthy goes a long way towards happiness and overall wellness. While some aspects of a flourishing lifestyle take time to achieve, like sleeping 8 hours a night on a premium mattress or maintaining a healthy weight, others can be done in a few minutes. If you’re feeling less than great today, no matter what the reason, all of the items on this list can and should make you feel better in a matter of moments!
#1 Go for a walk
If you want an instant boost, get moving! Your body wasn’t made to be sedentary all day, every day. If you’re sitting at home doom scrolling your social media feed over and over again, it’s no wonder you’re starting to feel bad. Aim to go for a 30 minute walk if you’re feeling down, sad, sick, or not quite yourself. If you can’t manage 30 minutes a day, remember the saying “even a little is good, but more is better.” Also, be sure to walk at a brisk pace. “Brisk” means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly. Exercise early in the morning if you can or take a walk around the block after dinner if you can’t. If you’re at work and having trouble concentrating, just getting up and stretching your legs as you walk around the office will improve your mindset.
#2 Drink a glass of water
Staying hydrated is vital for so many bodily functions, including our energy levels and brain function. There’s many healthy options, from a breakfast smoothie to a calming cup of tea during bedtime. Nothing else compares to water! Drinking a glass of water gives your body the little boost you’re looking for. Just one eight-ounce glass of water has been shown to increase energy and overall body functions including memory, mood, and the ability to focus.
#3 Expose yourself to sunshine
Your body loves movement and water. It also loves sunshine! There’s a scientific reason behind the fact that sunshine improves your mood. Standing in the sun for even a few minutes boosts our serotonin levels, which helps improve our mood and our ability to stay focused. That’s not the only benefit of sunshine. It also improves your sleep, reduces stress, strengthens bones, fights off depression, and strengthens your immune system. In fact, a study that followed 30,000 Swedish women revealed that those who spent more time in the sun lived six months to two years longer than those with less sun exposure. Of course, all of this is long term. In the short term, all you’ll know is that you’ll feel a lot more clear-headed, warm, and happy. If you have time, simply head outside and take a few deep breaths.
#4 Do a few simple stretches
Let’s say you’re stuck in your office or it’s too hot to walk outside. No problem! A few simple stretches can be anywhere and at any time. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend forward at your hips, keeping your legs straight without locking your knees. Bend forward until your head faces your knees and slightly tuck your chin in. You will feel a stretch in the back of your legs. Focus on deep inhales and exhales and you hold it for 30 seconds. Stand back up, then take your right hand and reach it overhead and to the left, causing your body to lean to the left and twist. Then, repeat it on the other side. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!
You won’t just feel better now; you’ll enjoy these benefits tonight as well. A 2012 study from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health collected survey data from almost 35,000 adults and found that over 55% of people who practiced yoga reported better sleep. Are you in need of a little boost today? We’ve all been there. We want you to sleep deeply and live well! Take a moment for yourself today, whether that be to drink a glass of water, get your daily in, stretch, or take a few deep breaths out in the sunshine. You’ll instantly feel revitalized!