Thursday 30 September 2021

Mood boosting must-haves for your home

Apartment Living Chronicles Part 5

There has never been a better time than the present to look for ways to boost our mood. Even the most stoic among us have lockdown fatigue, and the rest of us are going positively stir crazy. Creating a peaceful yet uplifting atmosphere in your home is the perfect foil for lockdown blues.

Smell is one of our most powerful sense, though few of us give it much thought unless we discover an unwanted parcel left by the dog or that tuna casserole from three nights ago is well past its use by date. However, we can use our sense of smell to help calm our mind or invigorate it – whatever the mind’s need at any time, aromatherapy can work wonders. 

If you don’t already have one, invest in an oil burner and a few essential oils, or spoil yourself with a scented soy wax candle. Most of us have experienced the calming effect of lavender and rose, but there are so many other peace-inducing oils out there that we can let our nose take its pick, no pun intended! Rosewood, Ylang Ylang, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Camomile, Frankincense and Jasmine all have long been used to calm a busy anxious mind, and there are combination oils on offer that will have a number of these ingredients. All these oils are great to burn in the evening when we are trying to wind down, or if we are feeling particularly uptight during the day.

If you are in the mood for a joyful and uplifting aroma, you can’t go past the citrus family of oils, especially Orange, Lemon, Tangerine and Grapefruit. Peppermint, Myrrh, Basil, Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Sandalwood are also very uplifting. Most of these also assist with mental alertness and clarity. Bergamot is very good in the morning if we wake up a bit sluggish from too much Netflix. It helps fight tiredness and can provide us with an energising boost. 

Affirmations are hugely powerful, so now is a good time to look to the internet and find one or more affirmations that really resonate. Then either print them up or write them down and post them somewhere in your home where you will see them regularly. Say them to yourself whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or down, no matter how mechanical it may feel at first, because they really work.

Make a ‘sacred spot’ in your home where you can retreat and either just zone out to some beautiful music or use one of the myriad of tools we have at our disposal for calming the mind. If you’ve never tried meditation, now is the perfect time to start, and if you used to do it sometime, get back into it. There are many apps that offer guided meditations so shop around until you find what best works for you. Everyone needs mental time out to boost the mood, and there is no better way on earth to do this than meditation.

If you haven’t already, set up a spot in your house where you can exercise. Ideally it would be a different place to your ‘sacred spot’ as your subliminal brain is a powerful thing and quickly associates a particular spot with an activity you repeat there and recalibrates your mood accordingly. So, find a designated area that you return to each time you want to exercise. Think about putting a small chest there to house your weights, resistance bands, skipping rope, pilates ball, yoga mat or anything else you may need to get your blood, dopamine and endorphins pumping.

Also hugely important, if you have a balcony or an outdoor area, embrace any direct sunlight on as much skin as you dare. The Vitamin D in sunlight is a hugely effective mood booster and has the added benefit of boosting the immune system. And if you live near a park or green zone, make sure you take daily walks to get some sun, exercise and the positive mood boost of being out and about. 

Happily, there are some must-have mood-boosting items in the food department as well. Wonder why you crave chocolate, it improves emotional health if you have the dark variety and eat it in some moderation. Dark chocolate is rich in folates, as are green leafy vegetables, blueberries and camomile or lavender tea. Also look for magnesium rich foods – again our hero dark chocolate, avocado, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. So do your mood a favour and make a salad of spinach, avocado, seeds and nuts to have with your lunch, then round it off with a nice chuck of dark chocolate and a healthy handful of blueberries. Your mind will thank you for it. 

But most of all – hang in there. Make your home as beautiful and mood-boosting as you can, because your surrounds really affect how you feel. And remember, this will end and life will move on from this covid craziness. Meanwhile, keep on keeping on in the best way you know how.


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