January blues starting to bite? We don’t blame you. The combination of lockdown, British weather and the end of the Christmas festivities is enough to dent even the Dalai Lama’s zest for life. But forget heading to bed and hibernating until spring. Use our ten simple hacks to supercharge your mood and keep those negative feelings at bay.
1. Get outdoors
Last spring’s lockdown coincided with longer, warmer days and buckets of sunshine. Now it’s winter and we all have a tendency to hunker down behind our own front doors. But actually using your allotted one-hour exercise time for a stroll round the block really is a better mood-booster than curling up with the leftover Christmas chocolates.
One UK study, carried out by King’s College London in January 2018, found that exposure to trees, the sky and birdsong in cities improved mental wellbeing, with the benefits lasting hours after returning indoors. And although the weak winter rays may not be enough to boost our vitamin D levels, exposure to natural light can benefit the immune system, mood and sleep.
2. Get your wiggle on!
It may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercise releases different chemicals into your body, including lashings of feel-good endorphins. These work with the opiate receptors in the brain to provide an instant burst of positivity and pleasure.
The good news is you don’t need to get red-faced and sweaty at an intense Zoom HIIT class to get an endorphin hit. Just move your body however you want! Dance while doing the ironing, or try squats while waiting for your coffee to brew. You could even get involved in our #GetYourWiggleOn campaign and raise money for charity, just by putting some fun into your daily activity sessions.
3. Prioritise me-time
Repeat after us: self-care isn’t selfish. And in these crazy times it's essential to our well-being. As the mental health charity Mind explains on its website: “Self-care techniques can help manage the symptoms of many mental health problems. They may also help prevent some problems from developing or getting worse.
We’ve all faced some radical changes to our lives, so give yourself a break to do whatever gives you joy and pleasure. You could learn a language, go for a run or take up a new craft, but remember not to confuse self-care with a drive for self-improvement or you’ll start beating yourself up for your failure to learn Mandarin in a fortnight! Just having a relaxing bath or reading a trashy novel are perfect if that’s what you really enjoy.
4. Glam up
OK, so the only people likely to see you are your family and the Amazon delivery driver. But getting all glammed up in lockdown can do wonders for your state of mind. Isn’t it time you discovered the mental health benefits of dressing to impress yourself?.
Putting on some lippy, wearing a few sequins or trying on your favourite dress with a vibrant pop of colour will help to lift spirits and make you feel instantly more perky. Can’t be bothered to get totally dressed up? Why not have a look at our stylish loungewear or treat yourself to a beautiful new matching lingerie set?
There’s nothing like laughing with your friends for a quick boost of positive vibes. But a chinwag with your gal pals doesn’t just make you feel good in the moment. Study after study has found that strong social connections relieve harmful levels of stress, which in turn helps your coronary arteries and even the immune system.
Keeping your girl squad strong is more important than ever right now, for all of you. While we can’t bond over cocktails or a workout, we can still check in with our friends now and again for a good girlie giggle and gossip. Put time in the diary for a Zoom get-together whenever you’re feeling low because strengthening those bonds really is the best medicine.
6. Have a digital detox
You grab your phone to find out what’s happening in the world and all of a sudden you’re hooked in by something worrying, sad or disheartening. We’ve all been there - in fact it’s so common, it even has a name - doomscrolling. But being constantly showered with fear-inducing content really isn’t good for our state-of-minds.
Our brains are clever, but their efforts to keep you safe means they’re constantly looking out for potential threats - something that attention-seeking news headlines can really play into. So limit the time you spend looking at the news and unfollow anyone who makes you feel inferior on social media. And, better still, become a ‘joyscroller’ and seek out inspiring, happy content instead!
7. Let go of negative thoughts
Plagued by negative thoughts? Whether you’re feeling stupid about something you said on a work call or beating yourself up for not keeping up with your to-do list, give yourself a break by learning to let go. Remember, if you wouldn’t think something about a friend, you certainly shouldn’t be thinking it about yourself.
That’s all well and good, but HOW do you let go of worries or negativity? Try this tip from the ancient Hawaiian practice of self-forgiveness called Ho’oponopono to feel better fast. As negative thoughts come up in your mind, say the following mantra to them: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” That way you’re acknowledging the thoughts, forgiving yourself and releasing them before the energy-sapping rumination can start to take hold.
8. Change the mood with music
Music really can make you happier. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to upbeat music improved their moods and boosted their happiness in just two weeks.
So get your favourite uplifting tunes on and have a 30-minute kitchen disco with your family. Chances are you’ll all feel better for it.
9. Get your beauty sleep
Feel like you’re in a bad mood from the minute you wake up? It could be because you’re not getting the right amount of sleep. Lack of good quality sleep reduces the number of brain’s receptors of the four main happiness hormones dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, something that can reduce your mood dramatically.
Good options to improve your snooze include lavender sprays on your pillow, blackout blinds and a ban on using your phone in the two hours before bed. Tried all that before? The UK’s Sleep Council has lots of tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, including a library of helpful ‘Nodcasts’ - sounds from birdsong and trickling rain to calming waves.
10. Help others
What goes around really does come around because, according to compassionate movement Action For Happiness, helping others is the key to feeling happier and healthier ourselves. Its studies show that helping others increases life satisfaction, improves our mood and reduces stress.
There is nothing that makes you feel better than knowing that you’ve helped someone out. Whether it’s volunteering at your local foodbank, helping a neighbour in need, or simply chatting to a friend who is having a rough time, the more we can help other people, the better we’ll feel.
We hope you’re feeling suitably inspired. Remember, Pour Moi girls are stronger together so follow us here to meet your tribe. And if you ever need a little lingerie pick-me-up, we’ve got you covered! Well, we’ve all earned a little luxury this year...