Cold weather and lack of light can take their toll on all of us. Here’s how to fight back.
Winter can be tough. Shorter, darker days and brutally cold weather can depress mood, and make us feel sluggish and tired all the time.
Rather than falling into the “blues” this winter, try to focus on doing small things in your daily life that can really improve your happiness level.
1. Get out of bed and hop, hop, hop. Or do some jumping jacks, squats, or lunges. But do something, even for just a few minutes when you wake up. There is now plenty of evidence to show that exercise – which causes your body to release endorphins that make you happy – is helpful for beating depression. So, start your morning by hopping on over to that coffee pot!
2. Try smiling. Even if it’s a fake or forced smile, research shows that people who smile more are actually happier. So, even if it’s cold and dark, plaster that grin on. For a fun “experiment” with the kids, go someplace and walk around smiling at everyone. Tell the kids to record the reactions. There’s a good chance you’ll all be giggling in no time.
3. Dance it out. Put on some upbeat music and dance around the house. The kids will love it, you’ll feel better, and you’ll burn some calories while you are at it. Singing along can also help boost your morale.
4. Sniff something that smells good! Flowers, essential oils, candles … whatever smell lifts your mood. Citrus (particularly orange) and lavender scents have been associated with mood enhancement. Let those happy smells waft through the house.
5. Throw on a colourful sweater, socks, or accessories. Colour can really influence mood. So ditch the black clothing and wear something colourful. Green, which symbolizes nature, helps to soothe and reduce stress, orange and purple can boost energy, and yellow can cheer you up.
6. Do something good for someone else. Doing something good for someone else actually makes us happier. It boosts our mood and reduces stress by giving us a sense of meaning and purpose, among other things. There are plenty of ways to give back and do good for others in our communities, bringing happiness to ourselves in the process.
7. Eat chocolate! Yes. It’s allowed. Dark chocolate, that is. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and helps regulate our stress hormone, cortisol.
8. Try something new. Find some fun outdoor activities, even in the blustery winter weather. Have you visited all of the local parks yet? Many are open year round. Check out a hockey game, or take the family on a hike. Don’t want to go out in the cold? Buy a new family game or have an indoor campfire around the fireplace.
While the cold, dark months of winter can do a number on our serotonin levels, the good news is that beating the blues can be easier than you think.