We all need a pick me up sometimes, that is no secret but sometimes it’s hard to find time and sometimes you just don’t know what it is you could be doing. That is where we come in.
We’ve put together a comprehensive collection of the different mood-boosters that are so simple, you can engrain them into your daily life without any fuss. And we have broken them down into different sections so you can focus on the boosters that you think you could fit into your life the easiest.
Food, drinks and everything in-between
Up first, breakfast
I know we have all heard how “breakfast is the most important part of the day” since we were old enough to listen, but have you ever looked into it? Dieticians say that if you skip breakfast, you will never be able to get your mood up to what it would have been had you eaten. Now we aren’t talking that American spread that you see in those films, but some protein and some carbs and you are good to go! (Personally suggest a bagel and a cup of tea!)
We all love a good snack, but did you know that people who are having something to eat every 4-5 hours are shown to have more even temperaments and are less prone to depression and mood swings? Stock yourself up on some of your faves because getting hangry is a very very real thing.
At some point in life someone decided that carbs are bad and then taught that to everybody and honestly we aren’t even sure why or how that became a thing. Not only are carbs DELICIOUS but they also really help in the production of serotonin in your brain. One thing we will say is to aim for complex carbohydrates instead (such as wholewheat) because these contain less sugar (lowering your sugar intake means less fluctuations in your glucose levels which means less mood swings and cravings) and will keep you fuller for longer.
We know, we need the go-go juice to make the mash potato brain work too, but honestly? It is your worst enemy. Caffeine interferes with the production of serotonin, so try cutting down to two cups of coffee, tea and soda a day.
We are all guilty of a cheeky bottle or three of wine, especially with all the lockdowns. We are bored, we are British, it’s what we do. But alcohol is called a depressant for a reason. It dehydrates your cells, suppresses your nervous system, hinders the production of serotonin and decreases your Omega 3s. So basically all those things we have been building up with the fancy fish and the complex carbs? Alcohol eats them alive. Not to mention the next day, hangxiety is the devil.
This little diamond is a fatty acid that is commonly found in fish, canola oil, soybean oil, flaxseed and walnuts (amongst other items!) and is known to raise the production of serotonin in your brain. Studies have shown that when the intake of Omega 3s go up, the depression rates go down. There’s a bunch of different ways that you can include these items in your diet but our recommendation would be salmon with a flaxseed breadcrumb top. Oh. My. Wow. Blend up some flax seeds with some stale bread (add a little garlic salt if you’re feeling fancy) and you have yourself a showstopper of a breadcrumb. You don’t need to stop there either, that little concoction makes a real mean chicken nugget crumb too.
Vitamins and Minerals
No, not the chewy orange gummies your mum used to give you when you were 6, actual real big people vitamins. They are very important and having the right level of vitamins and minerals is VITAL to your health and wellbeing but honestly? Sometimes no matter how you edit your diet, you still can’t get those levels right and it makes more sense to just take a supplement (we are not doctors so please consult a medical professional before actually starting any supplement treatment) BUT MyVitamins has a killer student discount (55%) through StudentBeans. Before you go to that, try increasing your vitamins through your diet. We have mentioned a few vitamins and minerals throughout this blog which we appreciate can be confusing so we created a helpful little table which highlights the key ones for mood boosters and which foods you can get them from below:
|Extra lean meats||Chicken||Fish|
|Beans (kidney and Heinz respectively)||Bananas||Nuts and seeds|
|Green, leafy veggies||Dark green, leafy veggies|
If you are like us, that phrase sends shivers down your spine but, as difficult to come to terms with as this may be, exercise is in fact fantastic for you. It is shown that people who exercise regularly have higher natural serotonin production, are overall less stressed and anxious AND have higher energy levels. We know that it can be hard to get into or find time for so heres a few tips on how to make it a bit more manageable (or tolerable).
- Make exercise a part of your routine, this way there’s no excuses or opting in or out it is pure and simply just part of the day the same way brushing your teeth is.
- Opt for a morning workout, studies have shown that people who do morning workouts are still showing an elevated mood by the time the evening rolls around, they are also more productive throughout the day.
- Do it socially, having a friend to walk or run with not only keeps you company but also holds you accountable when you don’t want to hold yourself accountable (we are all guilty of it). Not to mention the fact that chatting makes exercise time go by quicker.
- Do something repetitive like swimming, jogging, walking or cycling. Anything that is a continuous repetitive movement will do the trick, this allows your brain to wander and think about things that are more enjoyable.
- Don’t overdo it, studies have shown that people who exercise at 40% of their aerobic capacity got the same mood benefits as people who were exercising at 80%. This means that you don’t need to go overboard to get that serotonin boost that you are looking for.
- “Trick and treat” method, jog to your favorite coffee shop, go to a gym that is near to your favorite shop so that you can have a browse when you’re done, even take a walk in your favorite place. This promotes a healthier relationship with exercise because you feel like you are getting something extra out of it other than the health benefits.
- Listen to music, the same as chatting away, music just makes the whole experience way more enjoyable.
- Stay away from competitive sports. It is as simple as the fact that when you have a fragile relationship with exercise, competitive sports can make you feel bad and you don’t need that.
We know that there are days where it feels like your brain is literally working against you, and we know it can be really hard to snap out of that place so here are just a few tips of things that you can do longterm that will help boost your mood and keep your napper on straight.
- Reality check your goals, you need to be realistic about yourself and what you can achieve in any given time period. We aren’t saying dont aim high, absolutely push yourself to be and do the best that you can, but just don’t set yourself up for failure.
- Accept that the only thing you can control is yourself. No amount of worry or overthinking will change anything that is not directly in your control. All you can do is choose your own actions and reactions, so utilise that, choose to exercise and choose to eat the right foods and avoid the wrong ones.
- Believe in what you are doing, become consciously aware of the good choices you are making for yourself, and be proud of that! A great way to do that is by incorporating mantras into your life. Learning a couple of mantras that you can repeat to yourself when you feel your brain getting funky can really make all of the difference.
A very important thing to remember is that when it comes to mood boosters, there is no exact. Yes, there are things that have been proven to work, but who’s to say that will work for you? The human body and mind is a crazy, crazy thing, but that does not mean that you should not work very hard to find out exactly which of those things do work for you and hey – if all else fails, grab a cup of tea (no more than two though!) and try again tomorrow.