Taking control of your mood: Healthy habits

Managing low mood

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What It Does

This article will teach you about:

checkmarkHow diet affects mood
checkmarkHow sleep affects mood
checkmarkHow to develop better habits

How It Helps

This tool can help you:

checkmarkMake healthier food choices
checkmarkEstablish good sleep habits
checkmarkRelax before bedtime

This article will teach you about:

checkmarkHow diet affects mood
checkmarkHow sleep affects mood
checkmarkHow to develop better habits

This tool can help you:

checkmarkMake healthier food choices
checkmarkEstablish good sleep habits
checkmarkRelax before bedtime

Save this resource

In addition to resources like this one, Homewood Health and Kids Help Phone also offer 24/7 confidential counselling at no cost.

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This resource is part of a series on low mood and depression. You can find the other parts here:

1. Intro | 2. Healthy Habits | 3. Manage your feelings | 4. Get active | 5. Reduce Tension | 6. Stay connected


Eat well

One of the basics of self-care is to eat well. Fuelling your body with proper nutrients is important because your body’s physical state can influence your mood, stress levels, and health. Thus, always strive to eat a good, balanced diet.

Be sure that your daily food choices include:

  • Grain products. For example, whole-grain cereal or bread, barley or brown rice, muffins made with bran flour, and pasta.

  • Vegetables and fruit. Particularly the dark green and orange varieties like broccoli, carrots, and oranges.

  • Milk and milk products. For example, yogurt, cottage cheese, and puddings.

  • Meat and lean protein alternatives. For example, chicken, fish, lentils, eggs, peanut butter, and tofu.

  • Healthy fats. Examples of healthy fats include nuts and seeds, fatty fish, avocadoes, and vegetable oils.

You can consult Canada's Food Guide for more information on nutrition, as well as other resources such as healthy recipes.

Develop good sleep habits

Good sleep habits lead to better sleep. This, in turn, improves mood, reduces stress and tension, and leaves you feeling more energized and refreshed.

Everyone has different sleep requirements, so use your own internal wisdom to decide how much sleep is right for you. However, good sleep habits are important for everyone. Try these tips:

  • Do something relaxing, like reading a book or taking a warm bath before going to bed.

  • Avoid caffeine for at least 4 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is found in foods such as chocolate, as well as drinks like coffee, tea, and soft drinks (especially colas).

  • If you are not asleep approximately a half-hour after lying down, get up and do something relaxing until you feel drowsy. Then, go back to bed.

  • Never use your bed for activities other than sleeping and intimacy. For example, don’t lie in bed while eating or watching television. Keep the bed a place for rest.

  • Avoid alcohol in the evening. Even a small amount of alcohol (e.g. a glass of sherry) can later awaken you, and larger amounts of alcohol will interfere with the quality of your sleep.

  • Try the relaxation techniques from the “reduce tension” section of this course, while lying in bed. For example, try visualizing a peaceful, calm scene.

If you still have trouble falling asleep, see your physician. Sometimes this sleeplessness is a sign of depression and will improve when the depression is treated. Sometimes physicians may prescribe a brief course of sleep-aid medication (note: any medication to aid sleeping should only be used for a few days, not on a regular basis).

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