5 Tips for Thriving Through the Winter Blues and Boosting Your Mood
It is not uncommon to become more irritable, depressed, lethargic, or tired at certain times of the year. If you notice these symptoms beginning around October or November and not getting better until April or May, you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly named SAD).
Constant snowfall, shorter days, and lack of sunlight can throw off your body’s circadian rhythm and can cause drops in your serotonin and melatonin levels. Due to these changes in your body, it’s quite easy to lose motivation and energy during the winter months, which can greatly affect overall well-being.
While there’s no cure for SAD, there are many practices you can try to keep those negative thoughts at bay. These activities can also make the colder months a time of growth, positivity, and renewal. So, rather than struggling through these lethargic months, boost your mood and watch yourself flourish!
Here are 5 tips to help you not only bear the winter blues but thrive during this time!
➡️ Move Your Body
Exercise helps keep us healthy in numerous ways. Especially during the winter months, when we’re already feeling less happy and unenergetic, it’s super important to get our bodies moving!
Whether it’s a walk (even better during the day to get some much-needed sunshine!), or a full-blown, high-intensity workout, getting your heart pumping is essential for your physical, mental, and overall health. Exercise increases dopamine levels (the happy hormone), aids in reducing anxiety, stress, and depression, and can improve self-esteem and cognitive function! All of these things can help fight off some of those sad winter blues.
➡️ Try Light Therapy
This may be a lesser-known form of therapy, but it is pretty simple to understand and the concept is quite straightforward. It includes exposure to outdoor daylight or specific indoor artificial light sources to raise serotonin levels, align your circadian rhythm, increase alertness, and stabilize sleep patterns.
Because the days are shorter during the winter months, we see less sunshine than in the warmer months, which can affect our bodies’ serotonin levels. Thankfully, there are some great resources out there that can mimic sunlight, giving our bodies that light they’re craving when we’ve been in the dark too long.
➡️ Get Extra Vitamin D
If you don’t think a lamp or light therapy box is the best choice for you (or if it’s a little too pricey), don’t worry – you can always supplement instead with some extra vitamin D! We get vitamin D from a few foods, but primarily from the sun; so when it’s not super sunny out, our bodies are craving that vitamin to keep us functioning at our best.
Supplementing your diet with vitamins is never a bad idea, but it’s an especially good idea to have some extra vitamin D in your body during those colder months. It’ll help boost your mood, keeping you happier and healthier for the long run.
➡️ Eat Healthy Foods
Of course, one of the best ways to keep your body functioning at its best is to feed it healthy, nutrient-rich foods!
During the winter months, stews and soups are a great way to keep you warm and provide great vitamins and nutrients to keep your body’s energy levels up. There are several fruits and veggies that are in season during those colder months, including apples, avocados, pears, oranges, beets, cabbage, carrots, and onions to name a few. Not sure what is in season? Check out this post!
➡️ Stay Warm
This may seem self-explanatory, but staying warm intentionally can really help boost your mood and help you stay strong during the winter months!
If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, make it a priority to have a warm cup each morning. Not only will the caffeine help kickstart your day, but it’ll warm you up and get you ready to take on the day! Also, staying hydrated is VITAL for your health, and drinking a cup of tea can aid you in staying fully hydrated this time of year.
Investing in a heated blanket is a great idea to keep you warm on those winter evenings. And soaking in a warm bath (especially ones scented with essential oils!) can help warm your whole body up, boosting those dopamine and melatonin levels, which can help you get a better night’s rest. And we all know getting good, restful sleep is super important to staying healthy and keeping our energy levels up!
If you dread those colder winter months every year, you’re not alone. But you don’t need to suffer through them. Instead, try out some of these tips and see how they help your mood, productivity, and all-around health!
Intentionality with your help is essential, but even more so when it seems like the environment is out to get you. Being mindful and feeding your body and brain with vitamins, nutrients, and happiness can help you thrive during the cold months and kick those winter blues to the curb!
Don’t settle for surving winter… THRIVE through it! ❤️