August 2017 - The Life You Love

5 Ways to Improve Your Mood Today

This is a sponsored post.  I received a free product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  I did not receive any other form of compensation for this post.

I've openly talked about my personal mental health story on my blog.  I don't think I've been entirely clear about the fact that mood is always variable, even when you feel like you've got your emotions under control.  In the free newsletter I emailed yesterday, I shared a story that explains my most recent episode of feeling downhearted.  I was in low spirits.  I also knew that I wanted to feel better.  The problem is, you don't always know how to feel better.  And when you're upset, it's more difficult to think about or do things that will improve your mood.

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dress c/o tobi | utility vest (similar herehere, & here) | ankle boots (similar herehere, & here)

Today, I'm sharing my favorite ways to feel better even when I'm feeling down.  Remember, I'm not your therapist and I'm not offering you any professional guidance.  I'm simply sharing my experiences and the techniques that I use that work for me.  If you need professional mental health and you're experiencing negative emotions that feel like they're more than feeling "blue" or "down," I highly recommend seeking professional help!
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6 Free, Fun Ways to Learn About Your Personality

One thing I've always been drawn to is personality tests or information about your personality. There's something so fun about learning more about who you are and what your skills, likes, dislikes, and passions might be.  Of course, I think that any personality test - no matter if it's based on psychology or planets - is flawed.  These personality tests were created to explain billions of people.  So like I say with most things - take what you want, leave what you don't want.  Some of it isn't meant for you.  At the very least, these personality tests are great reflection tools.  It really helps you to say, "Oh, I'm totally comfortable in social situations," or "Actually, I hate being the center of attention."  I've put together a small list of free personality tests that will help you learn more about yourself.  The first three are based in psychology while the last three are more woo woo.  Still, they're all fun and I believe there's room for a little bit of both.

16PERSONALITIES
The Myers-Briggs personality test is one of the most popular personality tests that I know of. 16Personalities is a free version of this test that tells you plenty of information related to your type. Be as honest with yourself as you can when you answer these questions.

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How Home Organization + Cleanliness Affect Your Wellbeing


I grew up with a stay-at-home mom who always kept the house clean.  It was by no means minimalist, but it was tidy and we (almost) always knew where everything was.  When I went to college and no one told me to fold my laundry and put my dishes in the dishwasher, any bit of cleanliness went right out the dirty, streaked window.  And then my depression got the best of me and I was fatigued and apathetic.  I never cleaned and I couldn't have cared less.  Of course, it all just got worse.  The less I cleaned, the less I cared.  And the less I care, the less I cleaned.

Never once did it cross my mind that maybe - just freaking maybe - I could have improved everything else, like my mood and thoughts, by just picking up and cleaning.

Our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors all affect each other.  If we think that we're not good at something, we're not going to get any better at it and we're going to feel pretty lousy.  If we can change that thought, we can actually work to improve and to feel better.  Even if you don't all of a sudden master whatever you were trying to do, you'll still improve and it's a lot better than the alternative of pouting around the house.

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7 BEST FREE FITNESS + HEALTH APPS

This post contains affiliate links.

I did a thing.  I joined a gym.  Anyone who knows me in real life may be a little confused or surprised by this because I'm basically sedentary.  I think I mentioned in a previous post that I had neglected my physical health for years because I just assumed that being naturally skinny meant that I was healthy.  Obviously, I was completely wrong.


So I've changed my idea of healthy and I've decided that I need to make my physical health a priority.  But I don't just use the gym.  There are days when you don't want to drag your ass to the gym.  There are days when you have a little extra energy and want to continue your workout at home.  And of course, there are times when you can't get to the gym because you're swamped or you're out of town.  That's where fitness and health apps come in.  You can find an app for just about anything and you can usually find multiple apps.  Here are 7 of the best, free fitness and health apps that you can download and begin using today.
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BEDTIME ROUTINES & SLEEP HYGIENE

I've included an audio version of this blog post for your convenience!  Let me know if you prefer the audio or written versions and why.  Thanks!



Raise your hand if you've been told or read somewhere that having routines is super important for you.  Keep your hand up if you actually know why this is true.  Honestly, I would have put my hand down before I decided to actually look at the science behind habits.  Sounds like a snoozefest, am I right?  I hope so because I decided to really hone in on sleep habits and sleep hygiene.

sunrise alarm clock, bedtime routine, sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene includes all of the things that you do throughout the day that affect your sleep.  Exercise, sunlight, caffeine, room temperature, and routines can affect your sleep negatively or positively.  For example, going outside and basking in the sun between 6:00 AM to 8:30 AM can improve your sleep that night.  10 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can also improve your sleep.  Taking long naps or drinking caffeine later in the day can disrupt your sleep.
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4 THINGS TO DO ON YOUR BIRTHDAY FOR YOUR BEST YEAR YET

New Year's Eve is cool and all, but that isn't really the first day of everyone's new year.  It's a way we can collectively celebrate another year around the Sun, but your new year starts on your birthday.  Today is my 24th birthday and the beginning of another new year for me!  Apparently, that means that I want to make a shit ton of lists?  And eat cake, of course.  Everything that I'm suggesting is stuff that can be done anytime, but having one day a year that you remember to do these things can help you actually do them.

what works and what doesn't

You have a lot of things that are worth celebrating, but there's also the possibility that not everything in your life is perfect.  If you aren't happy with your job, promise yourself that you're going to look for and find a new job during the next 365 days.  If you want to practice more yoga each week, look up a studio or find an app that will keep you motivated.  Don't forget to remind yourself what's working, too.  If you stopped eating meat and you found positive changes, keep meat out of your diet.  If you found the secret to hacking the Instagram algorithm, keep hacking it!  What is working is just as important as what isn't working.
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