Your bar prep days are full and demanding, and your energy and efforts can feel spread thin. As much as you may try to remain optimistic and maintain a positive mindset, there are some common triggers that can cause a change in your mood such as:
- Relationships with family, friends, and others
- Health including nutrition, exercise, and illness
When your mood feels low, you may feel tired, down, and discouraged. A low mood can be difficult to get out of, making it tough to get things done, or concentrate. When you realize your mood is in the dumps, it is usually not at the best time. For example, you may be on your way to take a practice exam or attend class or work when a low mood hits you. It can feel demoralizing to have negativity sneak up on you.
Rest assured, there are simple steps you can take to turn your mood around for the better:
1. Integrate exercise into your day
When your mood is down, consider whether you could try adding more movement to your routine. A major benefit of exercise is that it boosts your mood due to the release of chemicals to your body and brain. Sometimes it can be tough to get started if your idea of beneficial exercise is that it must be high intensity. You can experience the benefits by taking a hike, engaging in walking, or taking a light jog during a break. You can even dance or work out in place with a weight. There really is no limit to how much you can do, without much equipment or even space.
2. Get outdoors
Breathing in fresh air and seeing nature can boost your mood. The impact is immediate, and the best part is how accessible it is to everyone. It is worth taking the time to go outside, however if you feel as though you don’t have the time, consider taking your studies to the lawn and get around some greenery. If you need more convincing, there are additional benefits to the outdoors other than better mood. Being outside can improve your attention and decrease stress and depression. If it is sunny, even better! Specifically, exposure to natural light triggers your production of vitamin D and serotonin, which are major mood-lifters.
3. Take a cold shower
There is science to back up the benefits of cold showers on mental health. In particular, a cold shower triggers your sympathetic nervous system and increases endorphins that boost your mood and fight off depression. Give it a try for ten minutes!
4. Skip processed food
You are running from task to task and need to grab a quick bite. Sometimes the most convenient option may also be the least healthy option. This matters because the habit of eating processed foods and unbalanced meals can take a toll on your health and overall mood. The connection between food and mood is powerful! Eating balanced and healthier options impacts your happiness and wards off depression and anxiety. Try adding greens, veggies, protein, and grain to your next meal. For a mood-lifting snack, consider reaching for berries, oats, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.
5. Crank up the music
You can really lift your mood with some good tunes. Play your uplifting playlist and your brain’s amygdala will process the sounds and impact your mood and emotions. Behind the scenes you are producing dopamine which reduces anxiety and depression. On your next break, create playlists for those tough days so that you are prepared to bring joy back in.
6. Seek out Support
Your support system of mentors, friends, family, and more has a positive impact on your psychological health. When you are feeling low, go to the people in your life who offer emotional support, encouragement, laughter, and share memories together. The next time you need a mood lifter, call the people who bring a smile to your face.
7. Take a nap
A power nap is a fast and effective way to improve your energy, reduce stress and regulate your mood. One of the ways that daytime shut-eye helps your mood is by increasing your ability to deal with frustration. When it comes to bar prep, there can be plenty of frustration in certain subjects and when practicing, so take this as your sign to take a healthy nap when you need it!
Do what feels good for you! Whether it be reading a good book, journaling, painting, cooking a new recipe, or watching a movie – do something that is just for your own wellness and relaxation.
The best part is that many of these small changes are accessible. The next time you notice a shift in your mood, consider taking a small step to turn your day around. It can make all the difference. Most importantly, be gentle and compassionate with yourself. After all, you are accomplishing major life goals right now!