Happy Monday? If you’re anything like I am, those two words don’t really seem like they belong together (example, this morning I overslept and was an hour+ late to work.) For the humans also experiencing the Monday blues, I figured writing about mood-boosters might be a good direction to go in.
As the infamous Elle Woods said in the 2001 hit Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”
Who couldn’t use a little happiness-boosters on a Monday?
No. 1 – For Anxiety, Camel Pose
If you’re feeling stressed with the coming week, take a few deep breaths and try doing the camel pose. This pose is a backbend that stretches the whole front of the body, and is known as a “heart-opening” pose.
-Begin by sitting on your knees and placing your hands on your hips.
-Lengthen your spine and bend backwards, placing your hands on your heels.
-Stretch out your neck and curl your head backwards.
No. 2 – To Lower Blood Pressure, Reclined Hero
-Begin in the same position as Camel Pose
-Sit with your knees bent, legs apart and buttocks resting on the floor.
-Lean backwards slowly, until the back and neck also rest on the floor.
-Arms can be relaxed at sides, or above your head with each hand grabbing an opposite elbow.
No. 3 – For Anxiety, Shoulder Stand
Ah, my favorite pose as a child (and still, as a adult.) This pose is fun, and helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
-Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, resting your arms along the sides of your body with your palms down.
-Exhale as you draw your bent knees in and lift them up, straightening your legs as you raise your hips to a comfortable angle (usually 45-75 degrees).
-Bend your elbows and bring your hands to the back of your pelvis and then slide your hands up to your lower back, for support.
No. 4 – To Relax The Mind, Child’s Pose
I might have spoken too soon about Shoulder Stands being my favorite… the relaxation of stretching in the Child’s Pose is hard to beat, especially when you’re tense and have got a lot on your mind.
-Inhale deeply while kneeling on your hands and knees.
-Bring the buttocks towards the heels, while stretching the rest of the body down and forward.
-Rest your stomach comfortably on top of your thighs; rest your forehead on the mat and stretch out your arms in front of you.
-Inhale and exhale deeply.
After you’ve relaxed a bit with a few yoga poses, try snacking on a couple of these foods… they’re supposed to help naturally boost your mood.
No. 1 – Tea
Seems simple enough, so try it! Supposedly drinking caffeinated black, green, or oolong tea helps to bring the brain to a more alert state. Theanine (an amino acid present in these three teas) works with the caffeine to improve your attention and focus. Suggested amounts are 5-6 cups daily.
No. 2 – Chocolate
Obviously chocolate had to make the list. Aside from being delicious and the cure to most anything that could’ve gone wrong in your day, eating dark chocolate actually reduces your stress. Try to stay to about 1.4 ounces though, to reap the benefits of the helpful antioxidants without adding on any extra weight!
No. 3 – Carbs
Isn’t this the best thing you’ve read all day? You’re being fully encouraged to indulge in chocolate and cards to improve your mood. A study found in the Archives of Internal Medicine that those who followed a very low-carb diet (i.e. 20-40 grams a day) experienced more depression, anxiety and anger. I mean honestly though, are you surprised? Researchers believe that carbs promote the production of serotonin, which is a feel-good brain chemical.
No. 4 – Fruits & Veggies
Maybe our parents were wiser than we were when they encouraged us over and over to eat our fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants found in fruits and veggies are associated with a lower risk of depression. Beans, citrus and dark green vegetables like spinach are recommended because of folate, a vitamin B that can be found in all of these. Folate affects neurotransmitters, which in turn impact your mood positively.
As we’re nearing the end of our Monday workday and head into Monday evening (thankfully,) take some time to try these and see if it helps you relax! I would suggest even combining a few… perhaps chocolate strawberries to reward yourself for spending your “you-time” by doing yoga. Take a hot bath, indulge in carbs, and smile; tomorrow’s Tuesday!
by Sky Andersen
by Sky Andersen