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With all the stress of the daily world today, most everyone is feeling out of sorts (to put it mildly). But like anything else, to lift your mood, it takes action and practice. It is a habit. Practicing self-care with these easy steps will lift your mood and make you feel better sooner, so you can be happier and more productive. 

1. Go For a Walk

When a problem seems impossible to solve, the workload seems never-ending, or a sour mood impossible to lift, it can feel that the last thing to do would be to get up and go for a walk. In fact, it’s exactly the thing to do. 

According to Harvard Medical, even a simple 20-minute stroll can clear the mind and reduce stress.  Call it “muscular meditation.”  When your body is busy, your mind will be distracted from the worries of daily life and will be free to think creatively. It frees the mind and unleashes ideas. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.” Henry David Thoreau, another avid walker, claimed, “the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.”

Try a walk in your neighborhood or drive to a different one to mix it up – maybe near water or nature. 

2. Grooming: Look Great, Feel Great

With so much of our normal routines shaken up, one thing we can control is keeping up our own level of personal hygiene, grooming habits, and looking great to feel great. 

Experts say that maintaining a daily routine of hygiene and self-care habits may be key to staving off depression. One need only to look in the mirror after getting a haircut or trying a new lipstick to know that just a small act of grooming can make you smile!

According to Amanda Allen, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York. “It might seem trivial, but it’s actually an effective foundation to develop structure when it’s needed most.”

3. Get Lost in a Book

Shut down your computer, put your phone in the other room, turn off the news. Now pick up a book and get lost in it. It’s the ultimate form of self-care.

In a study by the University of Sussex in the UK, reading for just six minutes was found to decrease stress levels by 68%. According to Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the study, “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism.”

“It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”

And according to a report from The Reading Agency, benefits of reading for pleasure include increased empathy, better relationships, reduced symptoms of depression, and improved well-being throughout life.

So whenever your mood is down, pick up a new book. It can provide solace, comfort, and let your imagination run wild.

Check out our recommendations here: Bidtellectuals Share Their Favorite Quarantine Reads

4. Try a CBD Cream 

Cannabis creams for self-care? Why not? The jury is still split as to whether or not cannabis products are true saviors or all talk, but for those who love them, but initial research shows CBD can reduce inflammation and combat anxiety. Proponents swear by creams and gels  for stress release, muscle relaxation, and overall calming effect. Apply some to your sore or stiff muscles and let it work their magic. The stronger the concentration, the more likely you’ll feel the effects. This is one Bidtellectual’s favorite and CannaCraft offers great resources and products, too. 

5. Write Down What You Are Grateful For

It’s true. When you’re feeling frustrated or down, take a moment to write down what you are grateful for. Likely you’ll have at least one thing: a roof over your head, or someone who loves you, or food on the table. That’s more than most. Studies show that gratitude – showing gratitude and a daily gratitude practice – increases mental strength, improves relationships, reduces aggression, and enhances empathy. 

Practicing gratitude is a skill. Once you force yourself to do it each time you feel negative, or every morning when you wake up, your brain will eventually shift to look for the good and be grateful more often.

According to Ellie Cobb, PhD, a holistic psychologist and the director of psychology for Thankful, “Science shows we can train ourselves to experience thankfulness more often simply by paying attention to our lives differently. Attention is like a spotlight in the brain, as whatever we repeatedly bring attention to becomes stronger and brighter over time.”

Bottom line: You have the choice between gratitude and resentment. If you chose resentment, you drive out gratitude. If you choose gratitude you drive out resentment, says Gretchen Rubin, a happiness expert and the author of many books, including “The Happiness Project.”

And when in doubt, wake up like the Stoics and get going. 

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

Marcus AureliusMeditations, 5.1

We hope these tips for self-care will help lift your mood today, tomorrow, and the next. We may be living in stressful times, but when you can control is how you treat yourself. Be good to you! 

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