|I snapped this photo when passing this property (it's a medical centre) earlier in the week. Isn't the flowering shrub glorious? It looks like a beautiful bouquet.|
Many of us fall into habits of perking up our mood by unhealthy and unhelpful methods. I’m talking about the feeling of ‘I’m a bit bored/tired/blah/restless right now, what would make me feel better?’
The kinds of unhelpful mood-changers I’m thinking of are:
Alcohol (I’m not talking about a glass of wine with dinner)
Drugs for any reason
Regularly eating high-carb/fat/salt/sugar foods between or instead of meals
Over-shopping for recreation
Instinctively we know when we’re doing something for the wrong reason.
I still don’t drink, I’ve never been into drugs and I feel fortunate enough that I don’t have an issue with excessive shopping, however I do change my mood with unhealthy faux foods
sometimes too often.
I was horrified to read that in the olden days patients in mental homes were given lots of carbs because of the sedating and calming effect that they have. That’s what I’ve been doing – medicating myself!
So I thought I’d create a list of healthy, chic and stylish ways to change my mood the next time I feel bored, tired, blah or restless.
One: Music – Choose French music to feel chic, classical to feel elegant and refined (I love violin/strings), 80s and 90s pop for fun; moody alternative music I listened to as a teen for nostalgia, country music which makes me feel very laid back (and like it's summer) - the list is endless! Whenever I’m in a nice store and they have something beautiful playing, I am reminded of how important music is when we want to make ourselves feel good.
Two: Physical movement – Now that I am a regular walker and have been for over a year, I realise just how good I feel after a walk. I don’t go that fast either, some days I positively stroll. In fact, I can’t remember when I last power-walked… I think that’s why I’ve kept it up so long. At that time of the month when the last thing I feel like is exercising, I tell myself ‘just go the short route and walk as slow as you like’. And I go, and it feels good.
Three: Nutritious food – Whether I 'feel' like it or not! Some days at work when I don’t feel like making my salad for lunch and think I’d like something more ‘fun’ (hot and stodgy are strong keywords here), I go through the options (very limited when you’re strictly gluten-free) and usually end up making my salad anyway. Sometimes it’s just because I can’t be bothered washing the lettuce and chopping the avocado and celery and capsicum and ten other ingredients. So if I just do it on auto-pilot it gets done and when I’m eating it, it’s yummy. I’m sort of like a kid telling myself just to eat up. And then I’ve had nutritious food which makes me feel physically good and avoided a meal that would have regret as an aftertaste.
Four: Fun reading – I always have a bottomless pile of books to read, both from the library and titles I’ve purchased. I look forward to most of them (and the few I don’t are returned to the library unread), sometimes though, it’s fun to play hooky and deviate from the pile entirely. I go to my bookshelf and pick something fun and exactly what my heart needs at that moment. It might be one of my French Chic books or it might be a fun chick lit that I reread over and over (such as Jemima J by Jane Green or one of the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella). It makes me feel happier and in a better mood just thinking about doing this!
Five: Inspirational blogs – A spot of blog browsing can be a great way to get my mind onto a better track. I browse the ‘Reading’ sidebar on my blog and go visit some friends for a little while.
Six: Browsing one of my glossy large-format books – I don’t open these all the time, but when I do pull one down and have a ten-minute read, I am transported somewhere else. The visual beauty wakes up a part of me that might have been napping, I’m inspired to make my world lovely again and my mood is changed instantly.
Some of my favourites include Vicki Archer’s gorgeous and evocative books (My French Life and French Essence), The French Cat by Rachael McKenna, Taschen’s Paris and the extremely inspirational My Stylish French Girlfriends by Sharon Santoni which is brand new out. I have a library copy currently and I’ve just ordered my own – it’s delicious!
Seven: Burning incense or lighting a candle – my husband offered this one after asking what I was writing my post about. He said as a boy he never would have thought to do something like that but he really appreciated the girl touch it provides. Now it’s often him that lights an incense stick, most often after work if we aren’t cooking dinner for a while. He also reminded me that smell is one of the most powerful of senses to change our mood.
We always like to have a selection, currently three Auroshikha scents in Coconut, Jasmine and Cedar, a Rose scented incense (Moksh Swarna Gulab) from an Indian shop (‘makes your prayer truly divine’ the packet says) and Satya Super Hit. I love the Sai Baba Nag Champa ones too but we don’t have any of those at the moment. Please don’t be tempted to buy the cheap, cheap incenses, they aren’t nearly as nice. We used to enjoy L’Occitane incense cones but sadly they discontinued them years ago. I keep hoping they’ll bring them back!
Eight: Call someone – this depends on how I’m feeling – if I’m likely to bring them down with my bad attitude I don’t, but if I’m feeling blah and having a lovely chat with someone will save me from a snackathon and catch up with them at the same time, then why not. The same goes for returning emails. There’s always a few I owe people, and once I get started I forget all about my faux hunger.
Nine: Pick up a magazine – I don’t buy as many as I used to and have decluttered a lot of magazines from my home (I’d have my keepers but even they were getting to be too much and more of a stress than a pleasure - don't worry, I still have my Victoria magazines). Currently the one that brings me the greatest feeling of inspiration and peace is Australian ‘Country Style’. I love this magazine and have bought a few copies as well as borrowed back issues from the library.
Even though I live in a big city (well, big for New Zealand standards - 1.5 million people), I long for the day when I can move to somewhere smaller and with a slower pace. Country Style magazine is my source of daydreams and, right now, helps keep this in mind as I live my ‘small town in the big city’ lifestyle.
Ten: Tidy up your surroundings – even if there are other things I ‘should’ be doing, I often find that tidying up my immediate surroundings helps enormously with my motivation. At work with a messy desk and half-finished tasks everywhere, if I take a moment to put things in order and do the quick jobs, I’m get an extra spurt of energy and finish everything with ease. Same with home. Trying to push through and finish a task (or get inspired to start one) is harder with little energy-sapping piles of clutter and that's when I get the thought 'oooh, what can I eat right now?'
What about you, do you turn to food or other things in order to change your mood? How often do you give in and how often do you make a conscious decision to change your direction? I’d love to know because I need all the help I can get sometimes!