Do you struggle with the winter blues?
It’s that time of year. The holidays have passed and we’re deep in the heart of winter. The days are short and the warmth of April (or more likely May) seems like years away. It can be tough to wake up in the morning and even harder to drag yourself out to do anything fun. It’s enough to really get a person down. So what can you do about it?
Here are some scientifically proven ways to perk up your mood this winter:
1. Exercise… Even if you don’t want to!
Time and time again, studies show that exercise is good for your emotional well being along with your physical health. Walking briskly for 35-minutes/day 5X/week OR 60-minutes/day 3X/week can improve symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Whenever I’m feeling down or depressed, I hit the gym and always feel better. Even if I’m feeling totally lazy and unmotivated all lI do is watch TV while riding the stationary bike, I always feel better afterward.
2. Seek the LIGHT
Your body craves light, and at this time of year you aren’t going to get enough natural light from the sun. Luckily, artificial light can help to satisfy what your body is craving. When you brighten your environment, your body will notice. You can get a light therapy lamp and it will do wonders! Even if you’re not using a special light, turn the lights on at maximum in whatever room you’re in to make up for what isn’t coming in naturally through the windows.
3. Eat your greens!
Obviously, I was going to say it–this is a healthy food blog after all. Eating veggies and fruit improves your mood! And guess what; greasy fried food makes you feel worse. Starting your day with a green smoothie is a great way to get in vegetables and fruits straight out of the gate and will help you feel better the whole day through. Green juice is obviously fabulous too, but if you’re in a hurry or wanting to make baby steps, start out with green smoothies which are quick, easy, satisfying, and will definitely help your mood.
Don’t forget that good quality dark chocolate is also a mood enhancer. Just stay away from the sugary stuff.
4. Get social
It’s way too easy to hybernate at the time of year and put off doing anything fun until spring. Big mistake! And a mistake I personally struggle with, I might add. Seeing friends and family and planning fun activities together definitely helps the winter months to fly by. Whether it’s a simple group movie night, a tea party, or a visit to your favourite restaurant, seeing the people you care about will definitely help you to feel more fulfilled this winter.
5. Create a soundtrack for a happy life
Music is good for your mood! Set up a soundtrack to a happy life by having music you love playing in the background whenever it won’t distract you.
6. Plan a vacation
Did you know that planning a vacation can be as good for your mood as actually going on your vacation? It gives you something to look forward to and dream about and the act of planning will help you to feel less trapped in winter-mode.
7. Get outside!
I’m so bad about this. I even wrote a blog post specifically on this topic. I don’t get out of the house as much as I should, especially since I work from home, but getting outside can make such a difference in how you feel! The great outdoors definitely helps with symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and will help to reduce tension and improve your mood.
With all that said, your mental health is something you should pay attention to and if you’re dealing with more serious mental illness, these suggestions may not be enough to help. Here’s a helpful article about identifying and coping with more serious mental illness.
Do you have any tips for improving your mood in the winter? I’d love to know about them!