If your happy place involves sunshine, tank tops, sandals, big sunglasses, ice cold drinks and warm evenings sipping sundowners on the porch (sigh!)… this one’s for you!
When winter equals the snooze button, hibernation and cravings for mountains of carbs… well, then winter is probably not your friend!
Truth is winter’s shorter days and lack of the usual abundance of sunlight disrupts our circadian rhythms or internal body clock. More than half of the population living in places where there are four seasons report having the “winter blues”: mild depression, lack of motivation and low energy. However, in 2 – 3% these difficulties are severe and recur as annual depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or very aptly referred to as “SAD.”
The winter blues are real and it is predicted that Old Man Winter might overstay his welcome this year. So, remember, if July is sending shivers up your spine and you feel the urge to stay under the covers until the first buds appear, you’re not alone!
What to do when your mood is falling as fast as the thermometer? We have a few scientifically proven tricks to pull you through:
- Think like a Norwegian. Denmark has a lot of cold, dark hours of winter, at times up to 17 hours a day, but top the polls as the happiest people on earth. Why? They purposefully and mindfully engage in creating a cosy and grateful attitude in winter. Mindset research is increasingly finding that it doesn’t take much to shift one’s thinking. So, think hot beverages, fuzzy socks and fluffy pyjamas.
- Eat smart. Avoid foods that zap your energy levels. Cook up some comfort – healthy soups, roasted veggies and stewed winter fruits. Yum!
- Keep warm. There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! Research shows that staying warm can beat the winter blues by half. Bundle up and aim to keep your home between 18°C and 21°
- Buddy up. According to Mark Pottier, a psychologist in Yarmouth N.S., isolating yourself only worsens depressive symptoms. So, surround yourself with friends and family.
- Exercise. We tend to exercise 5% less in winter. The effects of a good workout last for hours after you’ve hit the showers!
- Turn on the tunes. Studies have proven that listening to upbeat music can improve your mood. Set your favourite song as your alarm clock tune.
- Plan a vacation. Research shows that the simple act of planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness.
- Volunteer your time to help others.
- Drink water. Even in winter when we don’t sweat as much, we lose about 8 cups of water each day. Eat fruits and vegetables packed with H2O.
- Make your environment brighter. Open curtains, trim back trees and sit closer to the windows to provide an extra dose of sunshine and vitamin D.
- Laugh. Do whatever it takes to tickle your funny bone. There’s a reason why giggling babies and dancing goats are so popular!
- Make your bed. You’ll be less likely to crawl back before bedtime.
- Do something you love. Even if that something is seasonal, like gardening, find a way to keep it up. Start an indoor herb garden!
- Treat yourself. Soak in a warm bath with salts, scrubs and essential oils. “Taking a tub” is one of life’s most delightful luxuries.
Hey, it’s winter, we might as well roll with it, right? Hang in there!
Source: restoringmoms.com, crushmag-online.com, www.sleeptech.ca, blogs.psychcentral.com, www.realsimple.com, kdat.com, olsondevelopmentmentllc.com, healthcareassociates.net, welstand.solidariteit.co.za, blog.ctrinstitute.com, www.elephantjournal.com, www.gimmesomeoven.com