It’s easy to rise and shine with the sun and spend entire days with a smile on your face in the sultry months of summer, but as soon as this gloomy frost is around the corner, we’re instantly in hibernation mode, ready to rant about the injustice of cold weather. Unless you’re a winter person, in which case, lucky you, pass on some of your wisdom upon us!
But if you’re like so many others, myself included, struck hard by the winter blues, you’ll need a trusty strategy to rely on in order to lift your spirits and restore that radiant smile. Read on and take your pick, as there are many different aspects of your life you can adjust in order to survive the winter.
Get your heart pumping
I know it’s tempting to get stuck in a blanket with an amazing book and go on a chocolate binge, but that will do little good to your mood. In fact, winter is the perfect time to finally kick-start or at least continue your fitness goals – because the more you sweat and stay active, the more endorphins will flood your body!
In addition to increasing your happy hormones, exercise also reduces cortisol levels, meaning that it’s a powerful way to relieve stress. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, you can play with your pooch, take the stairs (but more than a single flight!) or take a stroll in the park.
Find your Zen zone
Once you’re done increasing your heart rate to balance out your hormones and keep your body temperature toasty, it’s time to find a quiet moment to yourself and detox from all the stress and negativity that are a typical part of our everyday lives.
Meditation is perhaps one of the most effective remedies for the winter blues, and even as little as ten minutes a day can improve your mood, increase your focus and improve your sleep. In fact, it can be as useful if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder as well, so start your day with a Zen smile.
Turn to healthy nom-noms
During summer, we like to keep things simple, at least in the carb department, so we all stay at a safe distance from complex carbs. However, winter calls for a change of menu, and this time, these rich macronutrients are the go-to mood booster to increase your levels of serotonin (endorphin’s happy cousin) and feel full longer.
Use this opportunity to try out various fun recipes, such as blending healthy and crunchy smoothies with almonds, walnuts and fruits in a Kenwood citrus juicer, because the omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts and vitamin C from citrus fruits are all ideal for combating the blues. Add a pinch of dark chocolate for flavour and magnesium, and you’ll have your winter-perfect mood-elevating snack in no time!
Build an attitude of gratitude
This may sound too simple to work, but it’s a subtle psychological trick you can play on your mind especially in situations when you feel down. Make it your habit to think of, or write down several things that make you happy, every day. From being able to read this article to the fact that you have a roof over your head, you can always find something to be grateful for.
This thought-guiding process helps focus your mind on positive things and events in your life and pull away from the constant cranky complaints caused by the winter blues. However, you’ll need to dwell on these thoughts for more than just a moment in order for their relevance to sink in. Think of it as Thanksgiving all year-round!
Let there be light
One of the main reasons why we feel so miserable during winter is the simple lack of sunlight, which in turn helps regulate our melatonin production, absorption of vitamin D, and balances the rest of our hormones. In essence, light helps our bodies decide whether it’s time to sleep or wake up, increase or lower your body temperature and similar bodily processes.
But using light therapy to expose yourself to the nearest equivalent to natural daylight has shown positive effects on our mood during winter. So perhaps you’re in need of some light boost that will help you finally brighten up!