As the month of January comes to a close, we enter into the time of the year with very few large holidays on the horizon. While some look forward to the well deserved relaxation period after the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hannakah, and the New Year, others find the period between February through March as the dull, “lackluster” time of the year. For the majority of Americans, except for those living on the West Coast, find that the lull in this part of the year is emphasized more than other months throughout the year, that do not have many holidays, as it is accompanied with an extended period of gloomy, cold weather. Because of this, it is very common for individuals to experience seasonal depression throughout this time. In today’s blog, we will be discussing five ways to stay positive and improve your mental health throughout the week.
Five ways that will effectively assist in keeping a positive attitude while also improving one’s mental health are to get a full night’s rest, exercise for thirty minutes a day, journaling your thoughts, begin practicing positive self talk, and spending time with loved ones.
1. Quality vs. Quantity of Sleep
The first and most imperative factor in effectively keeping a positive outlook throughout the week is getting a full night’s sleep. In today’s day and age of advancing technology, it is easy to begin scrolling on one’s media of choice after crawling in bed, and before knowing it, the individual finds that they have been scrolling for an hour! It is extremely important to get a full night’s rest as sleep directly affects mood and mental state. Better Health Channel discusses how studies have proven that individuals who have experienced a night of sleep deprivation report a decrease in positive moods and an increase in negative moods of sadness, frustration, anger, and irritability. Additionally, the study, “Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Mood: Ecological Momentary Assessment Study,” published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, found that the quality of a person’s sleep has a significant effect on the next day mood which was accessed by monitoring the sleep habits of 208 adults that were either anxious only, depressed only, depressed and anxious, and control groups over the course of six weeks. The Mayo Clinic states that adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep and the quality of the sleep is just as important as the quantity of hours. With that being said, a quality nights sleep entails different routines for each person, but it is a common factor amongst many people that a quality sleep includes laying on quality sheets. If you are one that is prone to allergies or getting hot at night, it would be a smart idea to try out eucalyptus TENCEL™ lyocell sheets as they are hypoallergenic and moisture wicking. These cooling sheets will ease even the hottest sleepers into a quality night’s rest with their buttery texture and cloud-like softness!
2. Move your Body for a Happy Mind
The second way that you help you in keeping a positive attitude throughout the week is doing thirty minutes of daily exercise, no matter how rigorous. Incorporating thirty minutes of exercise will tremendously improve both mental and physical performance. This quick workout can look different for many people. You can swim, walk, jog, dance or do any activity that will get your body moving to fulfill this 30 minute task. Thirty minutes per day might seem like a daunting task for individuals that do not workout daily. Putting this into simple terms, if instead you spent the thirty minutes typically spent scrolling on social media before or after work walking outside or on a treadmill, you can greatly improve your mood and overall mental health. Walking for thirty minutes per day does not mean that you cannot spend that time on your phone, you can be on your phone during the thirty minutes! Just try to get your body moving for half an hour a day and you are on the road to success!
3. Setting Personal Goals
The third way to keep a positive attitude throughout the week is to begin journaling! Jotting down weekly goals, activities, and thoughts will help you organize the busy week ahead and create a sense of accomplishment. While this might seem like a waste of time, writing down what’s on your mind whether that be relationship issues you are experiencing or trying to wake up after the first alarm instead of the fifteenth, it is effective in contextualizing your thoughts and making them appear more manageable to tackle.
4. Practicing Positive Self-Talk
In keeping with the positive attitude, you need to practice positive self-talk! While it might seem like there is no harm in joking around and calling yourself stupid or ugly, these words and thought processes do have an effect on your self image. Practicing encouraging statements and words of affirmation will in fact assist in creating a confident and positive self image, yielding a positive and more optimistic attitude in daily life.
5. Setting Aside Time for Loved Ones
The fifth and final way to keep a positive lookout throughout the week is spending time with loved ones. While this may seem to be a very obvious answer, it is one of the most important. Human beings are made for interaction and face to face contact with other people. Spending time with loved ones not only helps you get through current issues but will boost your serotonin levels. Additionally, studies have shown that spending time with loved ones reduces anxiety, depression, helping to create a strong emotional support system.
Incorporating these five techniques in your everyday routine will greatly improve your outlook and get you through this winter “lull” and onto the summer months!