With stressful jobs, a million things on your to-do list, and the constant reality of living vegan in a non-vegan world, it’s only natural to get down in the dumps occasionally. Fortunately, these 10 tips are surefire ways to pull yourself out of any rut in no time.
1. Write it down. It has long been touted that putting inner thoughts on paper can have an immediate effect of release and relief. A bad day at work nagging you? Write about it. Annoyed with your partner? Pen a letter. The simple act of taking your thoughts out of your own head and onto another medium will give you feelings of resolution.
2. Tune out. Studies show that music releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. Next time you’re feeling down, take a five-minute break to listen to your favorite song and blast the blues away.
3. Move your bod. Exercise, whether it’s hard-core strength training or a simple stroll, releases endorphins, otherwise known as happiness chemicals. When your mood drops, take a brisk walk. You’ll feel better than before.
4. Hang with Fido. Simply petting a dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and calm nerves. If a stressful day has you frazzled, give your pup some special attention—it will make both of you happy. Not a companion-animal guardian? Try volunteering at your local shelter or simply pet the next pooch you see.
5. Make plans. Having something to look forward to can raise spirits. Call a friend you need to catch up with and invite her to dinner. You’ll get the added benefit of spending time with someone you like—another way to feel better fast.
6. Take a breather. Used for centuries as a relaxation technique, meditation has been shown to ward off depressive thoughts and anxiety. Try taking in slow, deep breaths for five minutes and see where it takes you.
7. Laugh. Laugher releases endorphins, improving your mood instantly. When you’re feeling blue, go talk to that funny co-worker, watch your favorite comedy, or check out websites like Funny or Die, filled with short videos sure to release some giggles and guffaws.
8. Engage your senses. Most of the time, we use some senses (like sight and hearing) more than others. To give yourself a break, grab a lemon. Researchers found that linalool, a chemical found in lemons, may reduce stress responses in the brain. Sniff lavender and mint to get similar benefits.
9. Get organized. Cluttered desks and drawers can distract you, making you less productive and fouling your mood. Organizing your environment will clear your head as well as your workspace. You don’t have to clean out your closet to get these effects, however—simply organizing a drawer will boost your productivity and spirits.
10. Go outside. Sunshine is a proven mood lifter, and helps to increase serotonin, an important mood-boosting chemical that also assists in sleep. In addition, sunlight provides the vitamin D necessary for the body’s absorption of calcium. Take a 10 to 20 minute walk on a sunny day to max out the sun’s benefits.