6 Mood-Boosting Tips to Stay Happy This Winter!
This time of year, many of us get stuck in a mental rut – less sunlight, colder temperatures, and added stress from school, the approaching holidays and more can all contribute to feeling a bit low. You don’t have to suffer through the winter, though. Try some of these mood-boosting tips to stay upbeat through the cold season.
Make your workout “winter-friendly”. The cold, darkness and snow can make it tough to get to the gym and work out regularly. Gear up to face the elements and exercise outside, if you can since being outdoors is always an instant mood-booster. Make yourself a regular workout schedule, and give yourself small rewards for sticking to it.
Check on your Vitamin D. The low sunlight level in the winter months means your body is getting less Vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin.” This can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. Ask your doctor for a simple blood test to see if you’re deficient in Vitamin D, and consider a supplement if you are. In addition, with less sunlight, your body is susceptible to lower serotonin levels (the “happy” chemical) and higher melatonin levels (the “drowsy” chemical). With more melatonin, you’ll likely feel sluggish, so be sure to spend time outside whenever the sun peeks through.
Eat the right mood-boosting foods. Cold weather can have us all craving fatty, starchy comfort foods, but try to resist! Highly refined carbs and sugar can put your blood sugar level off-balance which can leave you feeling cranky, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness. Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, good carbohydrates (i.e, whole grains and vegetables), protein, and B vitamins can all help boost your mood. You could also try getting some extra vitamins and supplements to boost your body and mind during those cold times.
Don’t hibernate. Humans are social creatures by nature. So even though the cold temperatures might make you want to crawl into bed, be sure to set aside time to spend with your family and friends. Socializing is a very powerful way to boost your mood, says Esther Sternberg, MD, author of The Balance Within.
Appreciate the little things. Even if you hate the cold, there are some definite aspects of the winter that can be pleasant! Shift your thinking towards the positive – ice skating (which doubles as a great workout), hot toddies, and even just taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of the snow can all lift your mood in the winter.
Bundle up. Staying warm enough is absolutely crucial for maintaining your mood! “Winter’s cold can make you feel sluggish because of the increased energy demand on your body,” says Vincent Pedre, MD, a clinical instructor of medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. To keep your spirits up in the cold weather, always wear gloves, a scarf, a hat, and anything else you need to stay warm! When you’re inside the house, make sure to have the heating on.
What are your secrets for boosting your mood over the winter? Let us know in the comments!