10 ways to improve your mood and ‘tude. Peace is closer than you think.

Life, kids, relationships, groceries, bills, cleaning, carpools, homework, regular work—it can all get pretty overwhelming! Often times we don’t feel like it’s possible to give ourselves a break so we continue on, resulting in more fatigue and more stress. Yuck. There’s a reason they say “Put your own mask on before assisting others.” Here are some quick and easy fixes to put that pep back in your step.

1. Wash Your Face

For me, when life starts to pile up like last week’s laundry, it’s like I can feel a heavy film atop by skin. Literally wash the stress away by locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes, get the water running warm and give your face a nice, soothing scrub with something that smells like heaven. Now that fresh face of yours is ready to take on the world. Bring it.

2. Buy Yourself Something

A splurge doesn’t have to cost a fortune, especially to us parents rarely treat ourselves. Think of something simple yet indulgent—a new book, a cozy throw blanket, a block of decadent cheese from the local purveyor (maybe that’s just me). My favorite purchase? My very own pillow pet—the dolphin one. Man, I love that thing. It’s yours, you deserve it. And no, you don’t have to share it if you don’t want to.

3. Channel Your Inner Girl Scout

Because we’re all so busy and strapped for time, it’s easy to take a pass on helping someone. But doesn’t it feel so good when we do? Take a second and help that elderly woman across the icy parking lot, donate that perfectly good clothing in your spare closet to a local thrift shop or bring a prepared meal to new parents. Just hearing that simple “Thank you so much!” will keep us smiling all day long.

4. Organize Your Surroundings

Everyone knows that living amongst a cluttered environment makes your anxiety feel like a buzz saw. Skip the quick clean and do some internet research on how to de-clutter and find tips on organizing your home. Necessity is the mother of invention and let me tell you, a lot of mothers out there have invented excellent ways to easily keep a home under control. Create some new house rules and make sure you get your family on board. You are not responsible for always hanging everyone’s coat and keeping toothpaste out of the sink.

5. Put Pen to Paper

With the 1,000+ thoughts we have swirling around in our over-capacity heads, it can feel pretty overwhelming pretty darn quick. I like to keep one of those tiny spiral-bound notebooks in my purse and use it to keep track of tasks, reminders, etc. whenever they come to mind. When you write things down, you free yourself from the stress of trying to remember everything. The best feeling of all? Crossing it off. You go with your productive self.

6. Arrive Early – hahahaha, no seriously.

This is one of my favorite tricks to steal time for myself. I’ll arrive 10 minutes early for school pick-up/appointments/lunches and partake in a little Car R&R. Stashed in my center console is an assortment of brain candy like gossip magazines, crossword puzzles and store flyers. What bliss to flip through the pages without interruption! Oh, and as a side bonus, I’m never late to anything anymore.

7. Bon Voyage Stack-o-Crap

You know that pile of “stuff” that has taken up permanent residence on your kitchen counter/beside vanity/desk? The one you look at every day and immediately feel yourself exhale in defeat? Here’s how to solve that: go to Staples and buy one of those large expanding file systems (kinda looks like a suitcase). Start filing away those things you simply can’t get rid of (school drawings, receipts, old birthday cards, etc.). As soon as one of those pesky counter-clutterers hits the surface, immediately file it away. I feel relieved already.

8. Get Outside

I’m including this one only out of sheer obligation because it’s well documented that I 1) hate the cold; and 2) am extremely lazy. BUT, getting fresh air and maybe even a little exercise al fresco is said to do wonders for the psyche. Take a five minute walk or even stand on your door step, feel the fresh air and be grateful we’re alive. That doesn’t sound so bad actually.

9. What’s That Smell?

I have a bottle of lotion that I bought while on vacation in California. It’s made from olive oil and lemon and every time I put it on, I can feel my load lighten, even slightly. Visit a local aromatherapy store and find a scent that speaks to your soul. Right? Seriously though, scents are a powerful thing.

10. Watch Your Kids While They Sleep

If there is anything more beautiful than this, I haven’t experienced it yet. When I’m looking at my children asleep in their beds, I can literally feel my heart bursting inside my rib cage. Remember that tantrum he pulled earlier? Remember how she slammed her door and said she didn’t like you? Those matter not and the anxious feelings of the day’s tense times are transformed into a powerful feeling your chest can barely contain. Until the next morning when you want to run down the street with your arms flailing again. ;)

What’s your favorite trick for boosting your mood?

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