7 Ways To Brighten Up Your Mood On Dull Cloudy Days
February 17, 2021
I don’t know about you, but this dreary month has affected my mood considerably.
As much as we try to stay active, keep up a good schedule and get outside, within our current guidelines. I can feel the bleak weather gradually pulling me into a more negative mindset.
The good news is, I know what’s causing it and I know it will pass.
I am not depressed or suffering in any way, but it doesn’t feel entirely comfortable or pleasant.
When the sky is covered in grey clouds with no blue showing through it can feel claustrophobic and heavy on the mind. Any sight of sunlight or glimpses of the sky between the clouds offers momentary but instant relief.
I sometimes suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I have to be very careful to manage my mood during the cold months. The months before spring is visible is usually when It can be tougher to battle the blues.
This year is the first year I have successfully managed my anxiety and low mood to a point where I can pick myself up with ease. On those dark days and I feel completely in control. I may not be able to stop it from ever happening. However, I can manage the impact it has on me. After years of research and battling with the darkness- at the risk of sounding like Darth Vader – I thought I’d share some of my top tips.
So that you also can stay lifted and bright even when everything feels miserably and gloomy.
Exercise and Food.
Exercise is the most effective way to ease low mood as the effects are the same as that of an antidepressant. Making it my Number one go-to mood booster all year round.
On any day that I’m not feeling 100%, the first thing I do is throw down my exercise mat for some pulse rasing, cardio then I stretch out with some calming yoga.
One silver lining to this awful year is that we have a profusion of online, home- workouts flooding our social media right now. So it’s really easy to find something to do right in your own living room, without breaking any rules.
Fighting the urge to eat through the day and indulge in sugary comforts to make us feel better feels almost impossible right now.
As we are all missing our favourite activities we’re probably feeling the need to increase dopamine levels. It’s really important that as a result of being bored, we are not overindulging. Instead, replace it with a hit of endorphins through exercise instead.
When feeling the struggle I put on my happy playlist. It’s a playlist I’ve created of all the songs that take me to my happy place. Upbeat, ‘ get-you-moving’ type songs. I dance around my kitchen with the music up loud.
A good uplifting melody can have a powerful effect on our mood. Avoid songs that might remind you of a negative time or person. For example, refrain from putting on the break-up playlist or tear-jerking ballads.
Why not create a cloudy day playlist of songs only designed to uplift. Include songs that get your feet moving, your bum wiggling, or your shoulders shimmying. Pop it on while you’re doing the housework or cooking dinner. What else is a whisk for, if not a microphone?
Drag a partner or offspring onto the dance floor. Whether it’s your kitchen tiles or bedroom rug for a dance with you. There laughter and smile will brighten your day and make you feel not only that you’ve lifted your own mood, but someone else in your house too.
Another good use of sound is playing some soothing or calming tunes. Find some meditation or soothing music to play in the background. Make sure it gives you s a good feeling. Some I have found can have a spooky or eerie feel.
Look for meditation , yoga or spa sounds.
These lamps are either known to buy as a SAD lamp or a Light therapy Box. They are used for treating a seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy is a magnificently effective way of dissolving the dreary vibes of a dark and cloudy day,
I have a very basic one that was given to me by a friend. I use it all the time to improve low mood.
When I’m feeling very confined by the weather or the winter, in general, I put this on and feel an instant effect of lightening in the room, and not like you’ve turned a light on but like you’ve pulled the sun closer.
The light increases serotonin- the happy hormone and decreases melatonin- the sleep hormone.
Another good way to use the lamp is to get one that works on a timer. Set it to around 30 minutes before you want to wake up. The light will gradually eat away at your sleep hormone waking you gently and increasing your happy hormone even before you wake up. This makes it much easier to get out of bed in the morning. You can always take it with you to continue using it in another room or at work, once you’re up.
Often when it’s really cloudy and dark outside It can often feel counterproductive to go outside and walk around in it. Especially when you sat soaking in the good vibes from your UV lamp in your disco room AKA kitchen!
Getting outside will always help. The fresh air, nature and exercise are equally important. I often find it useful to take to the woods. The treetops disguise the grey sky and can create a little bit of an illusion of it being darker because you’re in the woods.
Being outside will always help wih mental health and walking is a great exercise alongside some cardio or yoga to boost moral.
Be kind to yourself
Remember why your feeling low.
When I’m busy it can take me some time to realise why I’ve got that frightened feeling in the pit of my stomach. It feels as though I’m about to embark on a skydive in the morning. Or I cried at the advert because that beautiful Blackhorse looks so wild and free, or I snapped because someone didn’t put the grater back in the correct cupboard
I have got used to looking up!
The weather will change and so will your mood. The sun will come back! it might not be today or even tomorrow but it will – It’s just science. The key is just bracing yourself focussing on your own self-care and remember that self-care is NEVER selfish. Our wellbeing Is the most important thing. Period!
Be careful what your watching
If we’re watching a lot of soap operas, dramas or thrillers these can have a huge impact on the way we feel. Topping this up every night or watching a lot all at once it can play on our minds.
Have you ever had a weird dream that stays for you for the rest of the day and puts you I a bit of a funk? Well, our screening, reading ad listening can have the same effect.
If you start to feel anxious why not take a break from the thriller and opt for something a bit lighter like a comedy or even a self-care related programme or book until your low mood has passed.
Plan your day
Plan your day. You can’t change the weather and it does make life boring especially if you just can’t get outside at all. In a lockdown, we need to consciously find things to do. Unlike normal life where we can stay busy.
Whether your bogged with work or not it’s still a good idea to make a plan for the day.
Visually being able to see what you have on your agenda written down can help to ease your mind. Removing the often overwhelming to-do list from our minds and putting it on paper can help.
I find if I have a lot to remember or a lot to do it can cause me a huge amount of stress. Especially when I am trying to go to sleep.
Having a journal next to me in bed allows you to remove these thoughts. I put them to one side for the time being. Even if I scribble them down and make a proper plan in my diary in the morning it can have a huge relief on stress.
Another advantage of this is that you can organise your day in a way that suits you. Look out for things you need to prioritise and things that can wait for another day so you don’t overload. Also, add in your self-care. Don’t forget these are things that need to be done, not a luxury that you can skip if you are busy.
Add in things to look forward to. and highlight them.
Cardio. Get that heart rate up straight away. Even if it’s only 10 minutes. Then stretch out and breath with some yoga. This followed by a few minutes of meditation using the smiling mind app or with Phoebe Greenacre on Instagram. All in all this takes me around 45 minutes.
Take a shower and spruce up a little bit. I switch the shower to cold at the end. Studies show cold shower increase alertness, clarity and energy levels as well and easing depression in the long term. I haven’t managed to convert to the full Wim Hof method yet, but a few minutes while I rinse works wonders to lift the mood
Get properly dressed. This shouldn’t need to be said really. Let’s face it with all these lockdowns it’s been one long Pj day! No makeup, no bra, Shoes of choice – slippers! So throw on a bit of mascara and the ‘over-the-shoulder-bolder’ holder for a brand new day.
I swap coffee for decaf or herbal and avoid sugar for breakfast.
My SAD lamp on in the corner of the living room for the majority of the day As this is where we are currently working.
A walk before dinner.
Plan in maybe a movie night with a nice dinner and pudding to have something to look forward to. If I have time or not much to do that day I plan some crafting.
Have a cosy evening lighting some candles and have some smells around to calm and ease the mind Once the kids go to bed I’ll do a bit of yoga and some meditation and herbal tea, maybe a bath, and read.
Call a friend or relative for a chat. You don’t even need to mention your feeling low if you don’t want to. Sometimes I don’t at the time because I want to be distracted from it. Sometimes just a chat and a laugh will do the trick. Having said that if a moan and hash out your negative thought is what you need then that’s ok too.
Then right before I go to sleep I write in my journal. I write how I feel, the reasons why, what I’m grateful for and some affirmations.
Then I finish the day with some guided meditation before I go to sleep.