It’s dark when you leave the house, it’s dark when you come home from work or school; it’s cold and windy and snowing or maybe it’s chilly and gray and raining. You miss the sun, you miss the outdoors, you feel restless or sluggish—winter is here and with it, far too often, come the winter blahs. Here are a few tips to beat those bothersome blues.
Follow the Light
It’s cold and the days are short, yes, but even a little bit of sunlight can drastically improve your mood. Strap on your boots, pull on your mittens, scarf and hat and go for a walk in the snow. Sunlight releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect your mood; if you’re not up for walking, keep the shades up in your house, read by a sunny window or invest in a light therapy lamp.
Get up and get moving. Exercise energizes you and helps to naturally balance your hormone levels; it also releases those ‘feel-good’chemicals in your brain and kickstarts your metabolism, the effects of which stay with you several hours after you work out. Shovel the driveway, hit up the gym, dance around your living room; whatever your pleasure, just do it!
Steer clear of refined and processed foods like sugars and white bread and replace them with more complex carbs—fruits, veggies, whole grains—and lots of water. These foods help stabilize your blood sugar and energy levels whereas the other stuff, while it might taste good for a minute, can lead to an insulin spike and bring down your mood.
Sometimes, simply supplementing your diet with some vitamins can have a positive effect on your winter-time mood; limited time outdoors means you might be low on vitamin D, so take a small supplement. Omega-3s and B vitamins can also affect your happiness-levels.
Embrace the Season
Look for the positives associated with winter! Encourage your teen to take up a winter sport like snowboarding or skiing, round up the family and go sledding, go for a winter-time hike and open your eyes to all of the beautiful things about winter—the stillness, the animal prints, the icicles and snowflakes. Make some snow angels and drink hot chocolate! Winter’s not all bad.
If you notice that your teen is down, encourage them to call up a friend or suggest an activity that the you can do together or as a family. Interacting with the people you’re closest to can often boost your mood. Smiles, hugs, chats by the fireplace over a cup of coffee—don’t underestimate the power of loved ones.
Get Outta Town
Take a note from the birds and head south for the winter. Plan a vacation for the middle of the season—maybe your child has a mid-winter break from school—and go to Florida or California or even Hawaii. A warm, sunny oasis is the perfect way to break up the winter doldrums. Also, treating yourself can keep you motivated; having a trip to look forward to improves your mood!
Feature Image: visualpanic