Winter is no longer coming. It's here! Cold days with little sunlight could make anybody experience the winter blues. But, just as seasons change, these feelings should also pass. Here are five healthy ways to lift your spirits during the winter season.
1. Lighten Things Up
"Hello, darkness, my old friend..." During the winter, there is little to no sunlight for about two-thirds of the day. This darkness doesn't just affect your outdoor plans or your commute. It also impacts your mood.
Sunlight is crucial for the brain to produce serotonin, our feel-good hormone. Ultraviolet rays stimulate our skin to prompt vitamin D production. Vitamin D is necessary for our bodies to convert tryptophan (the amino acid in turkey that makes us sleepy) into serotonin.
Lighten the mood, literally, by:
- Going for more walks during daytime
- Opening the blinds
- Wearing bright colors
- Getting a light therapy machine
- Painting your walls white
Also, consider taking vitamin D supplements and eating tryptophan-rich foods, such as turkey, oats, and eggs.
2. Get Up and Move
Unlike bears, you shouldn't be hibernating in the winter. Don't use the season as an excuse not to exercise!
Exercise is crucial for your physical and mental health. Your body responds post-exercise with feel-good hormones.
Try to do at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity five days per week. And even though the weather outside may be frightful, you don't have to join a gym to get your sweat on.
During cold days, warm things up indoors by doing yoga or pilates; there are many videos online, or you can download an app or other exercise program.
And of course, there are many ways to exercise outdoors, even in winter. On sunny days, go for a walk (or light jog, being careful if it’s snowy or icy!) to soak up some vitamin D and get your heart pumping. If you live in a snowy climate, winter hobbies like skiing, snowboarding, sledding with the kids, or snowshoeing are great ways to get your body moving while having fun. And, of course, shoveling the driveway or sidewalk also counts!
Post-workout, give your joints and muscles a little TLC. Maintain comfort with Joy Organics' CBD Sports Cream.
3. Create a Calming Atmosphere
Things tend to slow down in the winter, especially after the holidays are over, which can make each day feel a little mundane. It's up to us to change things up.
Plummeting temps can mean extra time indoors during the winter. Reinvent this space to create a more calming atmosphere.
Try these around-the-house tips to lift your mood:
- Play soundscapes, classical, or relaxing music in the background
- Diffuse essential oils, like lavender, Roman chamomile, or bergamot
- Start a fire in the fireplace
- Rearrange furniture to maximize space
- Light a candle and meditate
- Install more lighting (Remember, we crave light!)
Little changes can go a long way in altering your perception. Make one at a time. Enjoy the newness of the moment. Then, when the winter blues return, make another change.
4. Interact with Loved Ones
When we get in a funk, many of us tend to shun our loved ones. In reality, we should be doing the complete opposite!
Surrounding yourself with good-intentioned people can only lift your spirits. After all, your friends and family support you and want you to be happy!
The pandemic makes getting together more challenging. However, there are plenty of video-chatting apps that can make seeing their faces easier. Even seeing a loved one over a screen can put a smile on our face.
Embrace this technology and try:
- Cooking a meal with your besties
- Having a read-along with the nieces and nephews
- Playing video games with your cousins
- Sipping wine with the grandparents
- Entering a virtual escape room with co-workers
Sometimes we need to talk to somebody outside of our family and friends. Venting to a professional is healthy, and an unbiased ear can do just the trick. Never hesitate to reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or contact a mental health provider or therapist near you.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.
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