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Combating Monday Blues: 5 Ways To Naturally Elevate Your Mood

Combating Monday Blues: 5 Ways To Naturally Elevate Your Mood

Monday’s are the worst. They’re the beginning to a long, stressful week of work and responsibility when we’d love nothing more than to spend a few more days living a couch-potato life. Begrudgingly, we force ourselves up and out, heading to work or school to suffer through another week, dreaming of the next weekend.

It’s what we’ve come to accept and expect, right? That’s what it means to be an adult, isn’t it?

It doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 ways to naturally elevate your mood and combat those Monday blues.

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Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep

    Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep

    I get it — we’re all busy adults! Sometimes, in order to accomplish everything we need to get done, we have to sacrifice sleep. An hour here or there may seem like it’s nothing, but consistently losing sleep can have some real consequences: health problems like migraines, high blood pressure, and worsening of pre-existing conditions. Lack of sleep also has definite connections to our moods and can contribute directly to the development of mood disorders.

    So how much sleep should you be getting? If you listen to classic suggestions, we should all be getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. That seems to be a solid rule of thumb, though experts have suggested between 6 and 9 hours of sleep for proper recharging. Find what works for you and commit to it!

    Get Out of The Office and Into the Sunshine!

      Get Out Of The Office And Into The Sunshine

      So you’re stuck in an office for eight hours a day, staring at a computer screen. Music can help. So can some wall art or plants. Or, you could go outside for some much-needed sunshine! Not only does the warmth and light help you stay awake and feel refreshed, but it boosts your body’s natural production of Vitamin D and endorphins, lifting your mood.

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      Can’t take a trip outside? Consider changing the filter on your fluorescent lights! Filters which mimic natural lighting brighten the room and help you maintain your energy throughout the day. Other options include painting your office a color which promotes energy, happiness, and creativity. Consider these colors:

      • Orange: expands your thinking, boosts confidence
      • Deep Blue: encourages efficiency
      • Green: promotes wealth, encourages healing, and promotes emotional well-being
      • Light Blue: creates a sense of peace, aids in communication
      • Yellow: increases focus, mental agility, and intelligence

      Play with Your Pet

        Play With Your Pet

        Puppies, kittens, and other adorable pets! Who doesn’t love playing with their favorite furry (or feathery, or scaly) animals? Spend a few minutes in the morning enjoying your most loyal companion, and repeat the process in the evenings when you return home. Not only will this enhance your bond, but studies have shown that contact with animals helps lower stress levels and boost your natural production of dopamine.

        Don’t have a pet? Well, guess what? Those adorable puppy and kitten videos online have the same effect — no wonder they’re so popular! Take a few minutes to watch a couple — just make sure you don’t get too carried away!

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        Have Some Chocolate!

          Enjoy Some Chocolate

          Need an excuse to get that chocolate bar from the grocery store? Well, not only does it have antioxidants, but eating chocolate boosts dopamine naturally, too! Keep a bar on hand for those especially grueling days. Or, you can stock up on a hot cocoa stash in your desk — just make sure your friends and co-workers don’t turn you into the office candy supplier!

          Not a huge fan of chocolate? Trying to watch your caloric intake? That’s okay — these foods have the same effect!

          • Fish
          • Eggs
          • Apples
          • Kale
          • Red beets
          • Bananas
          • Strawberries
          • Blueberries
          • Green tea

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          Get Moving!

            Get Moving

            This one is something I struggle with myself: having a 9-to-5 desk job can severely limit how active we can be throughout the week. That inactivity can contribute to our sour moods and subconsciously lead us to dread Mondays even more than we already do. How do we combat that? Get up and get moving! Even something as simple as taking a quick lap around the office or jogging in place can lift your spirits and re-energize you.

            Now, understandably, if you share office space or work in a cubicle, you may not be able to do 20 jumping jacks. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything! Get a couple small dumbbells and pump iron while you’re on that business call, or do some stretching once an hour. Simple things like that re-engage your muscles and can improve your mood quickly!

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            Last Updated on September 18, 2020

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

            1. Exercise Daily

            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

            The basic nutritional advice includes:

            • Eat unprocessed foods
            • Eat more veggies
            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

              5. Watch Out for Travel

              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

              6. Start Slow

              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

              Final Thoughts

              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

              More Tips on Getting in Shape

              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

              Reference

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