If you’re like me, you’re probably exhausted by the constant stream of negative headlines. From a deadly pandemic to the worst recession since 2008 to the West Coast wildfires to good people dying—it has been an incredibly difficult year, and there’s no point in denying it or invalidating our negative feelings.
But challenging times should not preclude us from still trying to pursue happiness. If complete and utter contentment is elusive for now—and understandably so—we can have pockets of joy, small moments that can instantly boost our mood.
There are numerous ways to find pockets joy and increase happiness even in difficult times. Here are some simple mood boosters to help you get through tough days:
1. A new set of clothes.
Do not underestimate the power of a new set of chic clothes. Clothes are one of the items that have seen a considerable price drop during the pandemic, and entering a different season is the best time to shop for new clothes. Vogue reports that if the fall/winter 2020 trends are to be summed up in one thought, it’s this: “All dressed up but nowhere to go.” Just because you’re quarantining, it doesn’t mean you can’t look good.
Invest in some stylish yet warm clothing in preparation for fall and winter. Some of the season’s trends include gold embellishments, voluminous sleeves, and argyle sweaters. Everything that’s considered over-the-top for someone who’s not going anywhere! Don’t be afraid to explore—now is an excellent time to explore your real style.
Ensure safety by keeping a distance of six feet from others while shopping. If you can avoid it, don’t try on the clothes at the store. Better yet, shop online. Social distancing is still the best way to avoid being infected by the virus.
Research shows that those who work out once a week, even for just ten minutes, are generally happier and more cheerful than those who don’t exercise at all. Another study found that those who exercise regularly are less likely to develop depression.
Don’t neglect proper exercise. If you haven’t done it in a while, start with ten minutes per day and amp it up to 15 minutes after a week. Let your body get used to physical activity once again. It will not only boost your mood; it will also improve your overall physical health and can help strengthen your body to fight the virus.
3. Being around nature.
A study shows that being able to see nature or greenery regularly can help decrease cravings for unhealthy foods, cigarettes, and alcohol. If you’re in the process of letting go of unhealthy lifestyle habits, then surround yourself with nature.
Being cooped up for long periods can aggravate feelings of isolation and sadness. Cabin fever is a real phenomenon that can truly mess with your mental health. Combat this by leaving your home once in a while. Breathing fresh air has many health benefits—even going for a 15-minute walk outside can help bring a sense of clarity and calm. If leaving your house is impossible, invest in some houseplants. Even NASA-funded scientists are promoting the use of plants to help improve our sense of well-being.
4. Waking up early.
If you’re like 42% percent of America’s workforce, you’re probably telecommuting during the pandemic. One of the few upsides of the lockdowns is that you can have extra time sleeping in the morning. However, constantly hitting the snooze button may not be doing wonders for your mood.
Since time immemorial, humanity has associated waking up early with being healthier and happier, and with good reason. Setting the alarm and waking up when you’re supposed to mean you’re keeping your promises and commitments to yourself. Knowing you’re keeping your word and doing what you set out to do can give you a boost in self-esteem that sleeping for another 10 minutes never could.
5. Good hygiene.
If you find that you’re lacking joy, focus, or motivation, try doing simple self-care tasks like washing your hair or clipping your nails. Even something as simple as taking a shower or a relaxing bath can help instantly boost your mood.
Do not neglect dental hygiene, as well. Studies show a direct correlation between mental health and oral hygiene, and a clean set of pearly whites can go a long way in increasing your happiness. If you need a general dental cleaning or a new set of dentures, have it taken care of right away. 2020 is a great time to stay up-to-date on your health and hygiene maintenance tasks.
It may be tough to find pockets of joy in a year like 2020, but it’s not impossible. Fight for your mental health by pursuing happiness even through simple things.