6 Mood Boosters for Chronic Illness Sufferers
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get pretty down. It could be from a prolonged flare-up or I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. In these instances, I need a way to boost my mood. Here are some of the things that work for me. I hope they work for you, too.
Please note, these are not treatments for true depression. If you feel you may be experiencing a depressive episode, please see a professional therapist.
Get a Dammit Doll
Do you have a Dammit Doll? If not, get one! They’re hilarious and actually do help in getting some frustrations out. You can grab the doll by its arm or leg and then whack it against something like your bed, the wall, the couch, a table, or whatever hard surface you have handy that can take being whacked by a doll. When I do this, it helps me release some pent-up anger. I usually end up giggling afterward simply because, well… it’s a freaking doll that I’m whacking against the wall. If you don’t have a Dammit Doll, or don’t want one, screaming into or punching a pillow also works!
I know, I know, so over-said these days. But really, it works. Sometimes, when we are frustrated or angry, our amygdala is taking charge. The amygdala is the oldest part of the brain, my therapist described it as the cave-man part of the brain. So, we just need to take a minute to let our cave-man brain catch up and allow the rest of the brain to “light up”. It really is amazing how often this works for me. It also helps me when I’m tense. It reminds me to release some tension that I hadn’t realized I was holding.
Get Into Nature
If you are mobile, this is a great way to shake off cabin fever from being stuck inside from a flare-up for a while. Getting outside for a walk in the woods is my favorite thing to do, I just don’t always make time to do it. Going back to our cave-man days, this is something people who live in large cities often are missing out on (unless you live in a place with great parks where it feels like nature – not just a playground). Studies, like this one, have shown that getting out in nature often can contribute to lower rates of depression. If you aren’t able to get out for a long walk, even just a drive in the country can be refreshing. Roll down the window and enjoy the fresh air flowing over you.
Online shopping spree! A little retail therapy can be amazingly mood boosting. If you’re like me, though, and shouldn’t spend a lot of money, filling up an online shopping cart on Etsy or Zulilly can be just as fun. I prefer Zulily because I can just leave the shopping cart full until the items are no longer available (I don’t have to go and delete the cart myself like I do on Etsy when I realize I really shouldn’t buy those items). Plus, since Zulily is a discount site, I get the bonus feeling that I’m saving money – even if I don’t actually place the order! It’s weird, I know but hey, it works!
Depending on your ability to climb in and out of a bathtub or ability to stand for a few minutes will determine which option is right for you. In either case, adding some essential oils for mood-boosting can add to boosting your mood. In a bath, just add the oils directly to the water. In a shower, drop a few drops of oil along the edge of the shower stall or tub; this creates an aromatherapy spa-like feel. I use bergamot, peppermint or eucalyptus. Lemon, Lavender, Rosemary or Cinnamon are also great.
Phone a Friend
Sometimes we just need to vent. In those cases, having a few people on hand that you can let loose on is indispensable. A spouse or partner is great but they can get overwhelmed trying to be our fixer for a lot of our health situations. When we just need to vent, a friend is the best person to call on. Give your friend a call, arrange a coffee/tea date or invite them over to your house. Having a friend who doesn’t care how messy your house is, is the BEST. And when we’ve been in a flare-up, messes are inevitable. So call that friend over and vent away!
I hope at least one of these options help you out when you feel like you need (or are ready for) a mood booster. It’s true that sometimes we want to wallow in the sadness, and that’s okay, too! But when you’re ready, try one of these and see if it helps you out.
Do you do any of these already? Do you have other ideas? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or, email me here.