We all know that easing into winter can be a little tricky to get through. It’s been cold and dark for over a month now and just as the low temperature can make you feel like hibernating, lack of sunlight won’t help you feel better either. And those with big families may have overspent at Christmas, and find it a long wait to payday.
So if you’re feeling a little low right now, try some of my favourite mood boosters to help restore your motivation.
These self-care tips and tricks are guaranteed to boost your mood, starting with beauty products, but if you’re a bit strapped for cash before pay-day, there are some ideas that don’t cost a penny too.
Can beauty products actually boost your mood?
Little things really can make a difference in the way we feel. Whether it’s a quick lick of bright nail polish or sniffing an uplifting scent, our beauty products are there to help turn a low into a high – all through the magic of self-care. Adding essential oils to the mix, or making a daily self-care ritual and setting aside some time for yourself is essential. Here are 7 pick-me-ups to try now, wherever you find yourself this month.
Make body moisturising a ritual
Usually, your face gets most of your attention, right? Now that we’ve got our skincare routines down, it’s time to focus on our limbs. First thing’s first, consider full-body moisturising.
When you're having a down day, reach for your most luxurious skin cream. Research shows that it may be the TLC you need since a negative mood can make you more sensitive to tactile rather than visual stimuli and more likely to crave pleasant textures.
That's because we're hardwired to associate a soft touch with a feeling of comfort and protection. Dan King, the author of a study on senses and buying behaviour in the Journal of Consumer Research, conducted an experiment where participants in a negative state of mind said that applying a hand lotion made them feel better, even more so when the lotion was especially rich.
As the essential oil of the month is Frankincense, and the rejuvenating Frankincense has been our skincare staple for the harsh winter months due to its amazing healing properties, why not try the Frankincense & Mandarin Body Lotion 200ml (£21.50). With uplifting essential oils, this is a skin-smoothing lotion packed with omega-rich oils to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and nourished. Rejuvenating Frankincense and Mandarin Essential Oils are blended with moisturising jojoba, almond and pumpkin seed oils to help firm and tone.
Swap head massages with your partner (or just treat yourself)
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, A couples head rub is a heavenly treat that makes you feel great outside and in.
Head massages are a great way to relax, as they can help release the tension of the day. If you're on your own, you can even use some techniques to massage your own head. You'll feel the stress just melt away, so you'll be happy and relaxed.
Add oil. Most kitchen oils will work for this purpose, as will massage oils. You can use avocado, coconut, almond, or grapeseed oil, to name a few. Warm the oil up in your hands first, and start with a small amount. You can always add more.
Massage the oil into the scalp with your fingers and thumbs, moving up to the top of the head. Make sure you get both the front and back of the head, as well.
When massaging the person's head, try to go in slow, gentle strokes. Slow strokes generally feel better than fast movements. Also, slow movements tend to be much more relaxing than faster movements. Work in small circles. Using your fingertips, make light circular motions across the person's head. Move from back to front and then front to back. You can go over the head a couple of times with this motion. Finish by massaging the temples in small circular motions.
Light a candle
The flicker of a flame can be as meditative as a few well-timed deep breaths – look to scented candles to get your fix while creating a soothing environment in your home.
When a scent is connected to a sweet or traumatic experience, perceiving the scent can trigger either happy or sad memories. This scent-memory-feeling link can also be used to your advantage for boosting your mood, and productivity. This is why scented candles are very popular in self-care and well-being, due to their aromatherapy benefits.
Perceiving a scent can cause positive changes in your mood and state of mind, which is why scented candles have aromatherapy properties that lift your moods and spreads positivity in your home.
For a natural lift, try Neal’s Yard Uplifting Aromatherapy Candle 190g (£32.00). Create an uplifting ambience in your living room with this hand-poured aromatherapy candle. Beautifully scented with a blend of energising grapefruit and revitalising petitgrain organic essential oils, their candles are made from organic beeswax and plant-oil blend.
Listen to a positive podcast
When you want to hibernate on cold wintery mornings, and social interaction is almost non-existent, the sound of comforting voices can help to soothe your solitary soul.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin is a family of podcasts all about how to make life better. Meanwhile, Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s Feel Better, Live More covers all aspects of wellness from a doctor’s perspective and will encourage you to take control of your health in the easiest manner possible. And finally, Not Perfect sees Poppy Jamie ask an array of health professionals for practical tips on dealing with everything from stress and anxiety to heartbreak.
Find a signature scent for your room
Long days spent at home call for aromatic room fragrances to create a good vibe. Diffusers are your new best friend. The Esta Aroma Diffuser (£57.50) is built with elegant, stylish bamboo, and brings a touch of aromatic eco-lux living to any room. The beautiful sustainably-sourced bamboo is cut by hand to allow maturing flowering strands to flourish. Creating a fine aromatherapy-infused mist, it's ideal to help counteract drying central heating.
Add a single essential oil or a blend. My favourites are:
Lavender: relaxing, naturally soothing, it's calming for your body, mind and wellbeing.
Frankincense: a sweet and woody scent, which encourages relaxation, as well as slower and deeper breathing.
Women’s Balance Blend: A balancing blend of relaxing patchouli, uplifting geranium, nurturing rose and rejuvenating frankincense. The blend works together to harmonise body and mind.
Soak up the Sun
It turns out “sunny disposition” is more than just an expression: Researchers at BYU found more mental health distress in people during seasons with little sun exposure. On the contrary, days with plenty of sunshine were associated with better mental health — in fact, the availability of sunshine has more impact on mood than rainfall, temperature, or any other environmental factor.
Getting some sun increases your serotonin and helps you stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and sun exposure can also help people with anxiety and depression, especially in combination with other treatments.
That serotonin you soak up from the sun’s rays does more than boost your mood – it might also help you get more restful sleep at night. Working in tandem with serotonin is melatonin, a chemical in your brain that lulls you into slumber and one that the sun also helps your body produce.
Wash with Zest
Cold, dark mornings are tough, right?
Through orange juice and cleaning-product commercials, we've learned to correlate the smell of citrus with refreshing and uplifting feelings.
This Citrus Shower Gel 300ml (£14.00) is better than a double espresso for getting your get up and go. Bring some zing into your daily routine, with the zesty infusion of organic lemon, lime and grapefruit essential oils. It’s the perfect combination to cleanse, freshen and leave you feeling uplifted.
Sometimes happiness is a feeling. Sometimes it’s a decision.