Some days can be a little darker than we'd like them to be. Particularly at this time of year. It doesn't help that everywhere you look you're reminded that January is the longest, most depressing month. The good news is, as the old song goes, the sun will come out tomorrow. It always does. So if you can hang on til tomorrow, you'll be ok. But what if you need a little help in the meantime. Here are some simple small ways to make your day a little brighter.
These work for me but everyone is different. So like everything you read on the internet, some things might work, some things won't. Some things you might want to completely ignore. Some things you might want to share. I'll leave that up to you as you read on!
1) Start the day early
Start the day bright and early if you can. Although it's nice to have an occasional lie-in, sometimes these don't help you feel very fresh. The more you do in the day, the more energy you have so give yourself an early start and a chance to enjoy the day. Waking up early also gives you a chance to get out early and enjoy the peace and quiet - especially if you live in a town or city.
2) See the morning daylight
One of the best things to do is to see the daylight colours. Did you know that humans react to colour temperature? The colour temperature of light has an effect on mood, energy levels, productivity and impulsivity and self-control. If you can get up early enough to catch the sunrise, this exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain's release of the hormone, serotonin. This is associated with helping you feel calm and focused and can also boost your mood.
If you struggle to get up and out early, I recommend finding someone to meet up with, who you can walk with or exercise with. It's much easier to get out for a walk if you know you're going to let someone down if you don't!
Or if there are no early-birds near you, you could try trundling. trundl is an app which helps raise money for different charities, collectively, by you and other people walking each and every day. Basically, you can turn any walk into a charity donation without having to raise all the funds yourself. You can find out more about trundl and the positive effects it's having on people's lives in this blog post.
3) Enjoy a nice cup of tea
Are there health benefits in drinking tea? Well this is a whole blog post in itself! Unfortunately I haven't written that one yet but I can tell you in a previous post how to make the perfect cup of tea if you're interested.
Humans across the world have drunk tea for thousands of years. Some variety of teas may boost your immune system, fight of inflammation and even keep cancer and heart disease at bay. Here are some of the key ones:
- Herbal tea with ginger - helps to relieve joint pain, motion sickness and may have cancer-fighting properties
- Herbal tea with hibiscus - lowers blood pressure and fat levels, improves overall liver health and can help starve off cravings for unhealthy sugary snacks
- Herbal tea with chamomile - helps reduce menstrual pain and muscle spasms, improves sleep, helps relaxation and reduces stress.
- Green tea is high in flavanoids which can keep your heart healthy by lowering bad cholesterol.
So put the kettle on and make a brew - just make sure it's the right brew. Tea with full fat milk and 5 sugars doesn't count unfortunately, in this simple guide to a brighter day!
4) Phone a friend
Sometimes it's hard to make contact with friends and family when you're feeling a bit low. But this could be the one thing that will help draw you out of a difficult mood. Sometimes just hearing a friendly voice on the line or seeing their face on FaceTime can really help boost a mood. Also, it's a chance to ask them how they are doing. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our own lives that we don't realise that our friends have problems too. A problem shared is a problem halved and helping a friend will probably go a long way to helping you feel better too.
We all have a friend out there that we don't speak to as much as we'd like to. On days when you want to feel a bit brighter, I'm sure they would say to you 'that's what friends are for'.
5) Check on a neighbour
Small acts of kindness are always appreciated, so it could be the time to check on a neighbour. Even if you don't feel great yourself, offering some companionship or help with errands can make all the difference to someone's day. And it's likely to lead to a brighter day for you both.
6) Do something that you enjoy
It could be simply just reading, taking a bath, writing, painting or listening to music. It doesn't have to take a lot of effort. It's the simple pleasures. All you need is a few minutes out of your day to do something that makes you happy, something that's yours, something that you can take pleasure in. Sometimes we can get so bogged down in the every day life that we forget to do the things we enjoy. Make sure you make it part of your regular routine -and don't let the mundane life get in the way. This is your time.
7) Get outside
I know I've said this one before. But I think it's the most important. Even if it's just a walk round the block, a walk to the shops, a look at the sea, or a trip round the park. Fresh air, daylight, seeing trees, birds, sky, other humans, dogs, cats and whatever else comes across your path, these things can brighten up a dark day. Try it. You might be pleasantly surprised.
So there it is. The simple guide to a brighter day. It's not conclusive and you might want to add your own ideas! But let's hope this list can help you in some way, to wake up earlier, energised, enjoying the fresh air, and finding time for people you care about and things you enjoy.
And finally, at Jin Designs, you probably know this already but it's all about keeping it simple. I'd like to think this comes across in the products. Simple designs to help you through busy, and sometimes, difficult days. Designed to give you some space, a moment to reflect, a bit of comfort - and joy. Sounds like a brighter day already : )
Written by Jinny
Designer / Founder of Jin Designs