4 Effective Ways to Boost Your Mood And Keep Well.

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Your mental health matters a great deal when it comes to your overall wellbeing. There may be days or times you feel low or maybe you’re someone who is managing a mental health or mood disorder currently.

Regardless of who you are, it’s important that you take positive steps in the right direction to take good care of yourself. Consider making and incorporating these changes and then notice how much better you feel overall. Here are four effective ways to boost your mood and be well so that you can get back to living fully and have a smile on your face while you do it.

1. Exercise & Move More

One effective way to boost your mood and be well is to exercise. Not only workout and break a sweat regularly but also commit to moving more throughout the day. Exercising is great for your mental health and can instantly put you in a better mood. Make working out fun by engaging in activities you enjoy and that get your body moving and making a playlist that keeps you motivated.

2. Get Organised & Declutter

Another effective way to boost your mood and be well is to get organised and reduce the clutter in your home, office, and life. You’ll feel less stressed daily and will be able to easily find what you’re looking for. Go through old boxes and get rid of or donate items you no longer use or want sitting around. As for anything you decide you want to keep but don’t want in your home, it would be useful to look into securing a storage unit with https://www.storagearea.com for the overflow.

3. Stay Social & Connect with Others

If you want to effectively boost your mood and be well then it’s in your best interest to build relationships with others, if you are able. Stay social when you can and make connections that are meaningful and rewarding. Keep a social calendar and be sure to get out and about once in a while so that you’re not always sitting around the house or feeling lonely. Sometimes this can be more difficult, so be kind to yourself.

You may want to join clubs or orgnaisations in your area, volunteer, or play group sports to help you stay better connected, if you want to. Otherwise, take up a hobby or two and make new friends this way as well. If you struggle with making friends or have social anxiety, you aren’t alone and there is a lot of support out there for you too!

4. Eat A Healthy Diet  

What you put in your body for fuel can also impact your mood and mental health. Feel better fast by eating a healthy diet and cutting back on sugar, alcohol, and processed and fried foods. Some foods can also cause anxiety and make you feel uneasy. Stick to a healthy and well-balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens, nuts, and lean proteins. It might help to get in the habit of cooking for yourself at home so you have more control over the ingredients you use and what you’re eating. Also, always drink plenty of water to make sure you stay hydrated and have more natural energy to get you through the day.  

Keeping well is something you can do for yourelf- go at your own pace and look after your mental health and overall wellbeing.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Don’t Feel Like Cooking Tonight? Heres 4 Reasons why You Should For Your Health.

(image: Jason Briscoe: Unsplash)

Home cooking offers many benefits. It gives us control over what we’re consuming, we can try out new combinations and recipes, and it can even be a soothing activity.

It’s often one of the first things that falls by the wayside when our lives get hectic, however. Revenue in the ready meals market has increased since 2017 and is expected to continue rising until 2026. It’s clear that in our busy lives, we often resort to convenience foods.

Here, we’ll cover some of the hidden benefits of cooking at home for those times when you feel like ordering a takeaway or throwing another microwave meal in.

Portion and ingredient control

When you order a takeaway or eat a meal at a restaurant, you don’t have much control over the ingredients used or the size of the portion you get, unless you specify you’re allergic to an ingredient. Home cooking is a great way to eliminate unhealthy ingredients.

Portion sizes vary wildly between restaurants – some are much bigger than we’d make at home, while others are not enough to satisfy us. Everyone’s food intake requirements are different, and the healthiest attitude towards food is to eat a satisfying amount – even if it’s more or less than your friend. Generally, restaurants aren’t a good guide for portion sizes, whereas you’ll know your nutrition requirements when cooking at home.

Making healthier choices

A lot of us have been tempted by an impromptu fast food lunch order when we’re at work. And while there’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favourite takeaways occasionally, doing this too often can leave us feeling lethargic and unhealthy.

Preparing your meals for work in advance gives you the freedom to cook whatever you love the most while incorporating energy-boosting fresh ingredients. Meal prepping has exploded in popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. Whether you batch-prep your meals for work every week or you cook an extra portion of your evening meal for the next day, preparing food for work is great for our health.

You’ll need to make sure your trusty work bag can fit your lunch in – backpacks for women are hugely popular for work now, and they can also fit in plenty of other healthy essentials like a reusable water bottle, plus your work laptop!

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Saving money

It won’t come as a surprise that regular home cooking will keep some more pennies in your purse, especially considering we’re experiencing an increase in the cost of living right now. Dining out at our favourite restaurants is unsurprisingly the most expensive way to eat, but even those visits to the shop for a seemingly cheap meal deal can add up.

Cooking from scratch allows us to cost up our meals and ensure we’re eating within our budget. If you’re finding that you’re priced out of some fresh ingredients, don’t worry – studies have shown that frozen fruit and vegetables are just as healthy. In some cases, frozen produce may even contain higher levels of some nutrients – and come with the added bonus of being easier to prepare!

Mental health benefits

Many of us will already know how relaxing cooking can be. The act of methodically preparing, seasoning, and stirring our food can be therapeutic. Taking the time to cook a meal from scratch tells us that we are worthy of spending time on, which can boost our self-esteem. The act of cooking sometimes requires precision, but it takes us away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and – usually – drags us away from our screens.

Having a regular routine is powerful for people who experience anxiety and feel like their life is out of control. Cooking at home regularly is an important part of a healthy everyday routine, which can help us feel in control of our lives. What’s more, it can be a creative activity, and that’s proven to lift our mood and reduce stress.

While we love dining out and ordering in the occasional fast-food feast, there’s no doubt that home cooking reigns supreme. Not only does it allow us to be aware of what we’re putting into our bodies, but it also allows us to take some time away for ourselves, away from our devices and the busyness of our everyday lives.

This article was written by a freelance writer and contains ad links

Try These Simple Depression Meals When Life Gets Hard by Kara Reynolds

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Being an adult is exhausting.  We’re expected to work, build a career, keep a house, feed ourselves, socialize…the list goes on and on.  When you have kids, that list doesn’t get any shorter — instead, it expands to include keeping small humans alive, healthy, entertained and happy.  Becoming a mom is supposed to be one of the most magical parts of your life, but what they don’t tell you is that it can also be the hardest. Mom life is hard. There’s no point in sugar-coating it.

When that massive list of things that you’re expected to do becomes overwhelming, here are some simple depression meals that can help you eat healthily and keep everyone fed without putting in too much effort or relying on takeout. 

Nutrients That Impact Depression Symptoms

Depression is one of those things that we tend to only talk about in reference to other people, but it’s more common than you might think.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO). around 5% of the global population suffers from depression or around 280 million people. There are a lot of different ways to manage your depression symptoms, all of which should be overseen by a medical professional, but there are some small changes that you can make at home that might have a positive impact.  This includes changing the foods that you eat.

Research has shown that some specific nutrients might help manage depression symptoms include; 

  • Amino acids like tryptophan (found in turkey and chocolate)
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (found in oily fish)
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Iodine

Switching your diet around to ensure that you’re including these nutrients can help make the job of managing your depression symptoms a little easier. Here are some of my favourite depression meals for those nights when nothing else seems to be helping but you’ve still got a house of little humans to feed.

Charcuterie 

If you were a kid in the 90s, you probably grew up having Lunchables for lunch during the week. They were quick, easy and had most of the nutrients a growing kid might need to get through the day — if you were content to subsist on crackers, deli meat and sometimes cheese. Okay, so they weren’t the healthiest option, but if you make them fancy, put them on a plank of wood and call them charcuterie, they’re one of my favourite depression meals. 

The nice thing about charcuterie is that there is no wrong way to do it.  Pick your favourite meats, crackers, dips, fruits and veggies, and arrange them on a plate or tray.  Then pick and choose what you want to eat. It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to make sure that everyone is getting fed when all you have the energy to do is assemble things on a plate.

Fish

Fish might seem like a lot of hassle, but it doesn’t have to be.  It’s also a great option for depression meals because it tends to be high in magnesium which is another nutrient that can help with managing depression symptoms. 

This simple sheet pan haddock bake is a great way to get your nutrients without making a  big mess in the kitchen.   It’s 5 ingredients — haddock, crackers, butter, garlic salt and lemon — and five steps — and one of those steps is preheating the oven and I’m not even sure that counts. If you’re not a fan of haddock, swap it out for your favourite fish. 

Stir Fry

Stir fry is easily one of my favorite meals.  It’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s fast, and you can make it with whatever you have in the kitchen.  Start by picking your protein. Then, pick your stir fry veggies — these can be fresh, canned or frozen. Fry them up in the oil of your choice, top with your sauce, and serve over rice. 

The key to a good stir fry, regardless of your chosen ingredients, is the sauce.  My go-to stir fry sauce only requires a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen.: 

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar.

Mix and pour, and you’ve got the tastiest stir fry sauce this side of your favourite Chinese restaurant. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly (Jam)

It sounds basic, but that’s because it is.  Peanut butter — and other nut butters, if you have a peanut allergy in the house — are full of healthy proteins and other nutrients that will help you feel full longer.  Pair it with some natural fruit preserves and your favourite whole wheat or multigrain bread and you’ve got a halfway healthy meal that takes almost no time or effort to prepare. 

You can always spice up your PB&J if you have more spoons.  If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth you can add sliced bananas, honey, or even marshmallow fluff.  The possibilities are endless. 

Be Kind To Yourself

As long as you’re eating, it doesn’t really matter what you eat for dinner — but making healthier choices can help to make you feel better in the long run.  Try a couple of my favourite depression meals and see if they make it into your regular meal schedule.

Above all else, be kind to yourself. 


This article was written by Kara Reynolds, editor at Momish.

5 Things that could be triggering your Depression by Samantha Higgins.

iforherimage

(image: Iforher.com)

Almost everyone goes through an episode of depression at some point in life. For some, the problem is severe and protracted. During the episodic depression, bouts leave you feeling hopeless and exhausted, making it difficult to be productive and present in your daily life. Although depression is a severe health condition, treatment brings hope to the affected. Once depression symptoms are controlled, knowing common triggers and how to avoid them can save you from a depressive episode.

It is important to seek help in the form of treatment from a doctor- whether that is medication or counselling.

Feeling Overwhelmed

When you feel that stressors, such as tight deadlines, are too challenging to manage, you become overwhelmed. Emotional overwhelm is more than feeling stressed. It means you are completely submerged by emotions and thoughts about your current problems, to a point of feeling paralysed.

It is a scary and confusing experience that might leave you with limited functionality and an inability to think and act rationally. Whether caused by stressful times at your workplace or traumatic experiences of loss, overwhelm can trigger depression. Minimise depression triggers by knowing your limits and boundaries of what you can take in and what can cause overwhelm. For overwhelming tasks, break them down into smaller, manageable tasks for you to complete in steps.

 

Financial Worries

Money woes are a common source of stress that can cause a depressive episode. Focus on projects that increase your financial stability like side hustles. Avoid concentrating on what you do not have since it increases your worry. Customize your budget and do regular reviews to stay aware of your cash flow and financial situation.

Create a savings plan and make monthly deposits to the account so that you are less worried about the future. Go for local events that are free or cost-effective so that you can socialise at a budget. Remain engaged with your hobbies or spend time with loved ones to avoid overthinking about your financial situation.

Seek support from your doctor, if needed.

 

Alcohol Abuse

Some people indulge in alcohol and other substances to cope with depression. Most are drawn to alcohol’s sedative effects to help distract them from feelings of sadness. While alcohol can relieve some of depression’s symptoms in the short term, it can worsen depression in the long run.

As a person experiences the financial and social consequences of alcohol misuse, their worries increase, and relationships deteriorate, leading to an episode of depression. This leads to a vicious cycle of alcohol abuse to self-medicate some symptoms of depression. If taking antidepressants for depression, avoid alcohol since the depressant effects of alcohol counterattacks the effectiveness of antidepressants.

 

Poor Sleep Habits

There is a direct relationship between poor sleep and depression episodes. People that sleep less than six hours and more than eight hours have a high risk of experiencing recurrent depressive episodes than those who sleep the recommended six to eight hours. Practice good sleep habits, such as maintaining a consistent bed and wake time.

Turn off all electronics hours before bedtime to avoid overstimulation for better sleep. Reduce any source of discomfort, such as an old mattress. Look for the best adjustable mattress bases for maximum comfort and relaxed nighttime. Take a warm bath, meditate, or have a warm glass of milk to help you fall asleep fast.

 

A Poor Diet

Dietary habits can lead to depressive episodes. Consume more healthy foods with a focus on whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables for improved mental health. Limit processed and refined foods, including junk and fried foods. Look for foods high in selenium like whole grains and Brazil nuts to reduce anxiety and improve mood, making depression manageable.

Go for vitamin B sources such as egg, poultry, fish, and lean meat as they help to reduce the symptoms and risk of mood disorders, including depression. Eat food rich in zinc or use zinc supplements to enhance the effectiveness of antidepressants for better depression management. Hydrate regularly with water or soft drinks for better moods.

Depression can be life-changing due to frequent worries, but treatment- medication and counselling can help manage the disorder. Make lifestyle modifications such as a healthy diet, better sleep, and less worry for improved well-being. 

 

This guest blog was written by Samantha Higgins.

            

 

Life Changing Habits to Bring into the New Year: Guest blog By Vanessa Hill

(image: http://gandlblog.com/17-inspirational-new-years-quotes-for-2020/)

The start of 2020 is a special time. Not only are we lucky enough to be able to start a new year, but we also have the privilege of beginning a new decade. We have the opportunity to define the next ten years of our lives, which means we should probably be starting it off on the right foot by developing good habits. Here are three life-changing habits that you can start doing right now to ensure you have a great decade.

Eat Healthy Foods 

The first habit you need to bring into the new year with you is making your health a priority, and one of the easiest ways to do this is by maintaining a healthy diet. Your diet plays a huge role in how you feel mentally and physically. It’s where your body sources it’s energy from, so when you put good things in your body you feel good. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to completely give up your favourite guilty pleasures. Try thinking of things you can incorporate into your diet rather than thinking of things you want to get rid of. Commit to eating more leafy greens rather than swearing off chocolate. Choose to eat whole grain rather than avoiding carbs.

If you’re not entirely sure where to start, you can always sign up for healthy eating program that shows you exactly how to transform your eating habits. Even if losing weight isn’t your goal, you’ll find that making healthier choices with your nutrition will leave you feeling better, and give you the energy to take on the year.

Please note to speak to a doctor before you start any new eating program and take care if you are struggling with your mental health alongside. 

Develop a consistent sleep routine

Sleep is an underrated body function that too many of us take for granted. Our bodies use this time to repair damages, replenish our energy, and restore us to a functioning state. Lack of sleep negatively affects every part of your body. If you’re tired of struggling with brain fog, lack of energy, and irritability, then developing a good sleeping pattern is the place to start.

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day– even on the weekends. This may be a bit tricky if you’re younger and you find yourself spending your weekend nights out on the town, if you travel a lot, or if you have young children. But once you come up with a schedule that works, try to stick to this as closely as you can. You’ll find that your days are more bearable and you might even get deeper sleep at night. Don’t be afraid to consult a sleep specialist if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest. They’ll be able to help you get the best sleep possible, which will turn into you living the best year possible. 

Practice Gratitude

While people are eager to think of the things they want to change at the beginning of the year, it’s important to show your appreciation for the things that you do have and for where you are right now. You can show gratitude on a macro-scale, where you’re thankful for your friends and family, for your amazing job, or the events that you’re lucky enough to experience. On a micro-scale, you can be thankful that you had enough money for coffee today, for example.

Either way, taking the time to notice and appreciate the things that are going well around you will give you a positive outlook on life, and it will remind you of all the reasons you have to smile. You have so much to be thankful for, you should regularly remind yourself of that.

About the Author

Vanessa is a content writer who’s passionate about spreading knowledge and joy to the world. When she’s not writing, she enjoys exploring the streets in a foreign country where she can immerse herself in different cultures.

Psychiatric Medication and Weight Gain- a Journey to taking back control.

This post is intensely personal for me as it encompasses 3 years of recovery from  a severe bipolar manic episode that left me hospitalised. Weight gain is a side effect from more than one of my medications and in this article I will explain my journey and why now I want to take control back.

I have (up until the past few years) always been tall, slim and curvy and never had to worry about my weight. It simply didnt register to me that I couldn’t eat carbs or ice cream or pizza (or my favourite food in the world- pasta)- my height, at 5 foot 10, meant I could carry my weight more than the average short person.

The first time I put on significant amounts of weight due to psychiatric medication was after going on the anti psychotic Olanzepine, aged 16 after an acute episode of depression. I ballooned in weight (due to cravings) and put on maybe 2 stone (not sure what that is in kilos)- but at the time as I was a teenager with a fast metabolism, I was able to lose the weight once I came off the Olanzepine and go back to being a size 12 . My first mood stabiliser- Carbamazepine, that I was on for 10 years didn’t cause the weight gain I have now seen and I went back to being slim.

Over the years as I was put on different anti depressants and experienced suicidal depressions and social anxiety, I comfort ate- pasta, chocolate, cheese to take away the pain of the depression. Still, in 2013, I was maybe only a UK size 14-16 (having been an average 12-14). As mentioned, my tall frame meant I didn’t look big.

Then, in 2014, I was hospitalised due to mania and psychosis and given many medications for psychosis and anxiety- Haloperidol, Benzodiazepines, Upped dosage of Quetaipine in addition to my mood stabiliser and anti depressants . Also during the mania, my mind was so busy that I constantly craved food and snacks and couldn’t regulate my appetite. So weight gain was inevitable.

I put on a lot of weight over my time in hospital, day hospital and at home when recovering afterwards- I wasn’t working, was very anxious and low and the comfort eating began. Add to the lack of exercise- I became overweight and unfit fast. I also found that my new stabiliser Lithium, plus the Quetaipine and anti deps, meant I had bad sugar cravings and became addicted to sugar. I still am, but I am trying to regulate it. This meant I was drinking a lot of juice and eating chocolate.

This week I went to the Doctor and was weighed. I have put on 5 stone in 3 years since Ive been unwell. This was a huge wake up call. The Doctor told me that reducing the Quetaipine would help my weight loss as it causes increase in appetite.

I have bought the Slimming world cook book and Exercise DVDS and really need to find the willpower to just start my diet and exercise regime. Being the size I am- I need to lose weight for health reasons and this is what is spurring me on to begin.