The other day I woke up and didn’t want to leave my bed. It was still dark outside, even though it was way after nine. The low temperature in my room and the gloomy weather outside made want to stay under the covers all day, which isn’t like me at all.
This might sound familiar to loads of people, as the winter blues are not uncommon at all.
The change of seasons mean dark mornings, even darker evenings and chilly, gloomy days. This isn’t the only thing that winter brings. More often than not, it is followed by lack of motivation, the urge to stay at home, sleepiness and feeling down.
But only a small percentage of people who experience a change of mood with the season do have seasonal depression. It is a more severe condition, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Symptoms of winter blues are milder than those of SAD, but still not very pleasant. Here are some things you can try to beat the winter blues and stay well all winter long.
Pamper Yourself With a Massage
Whether you pay a professional or ask a spouse or friend to rub your back, the result is the same: a natural mood boost. Researchers suspect massage boosts serotonin levels and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol – both equally helpful results when overcoming winter blues.
Get Ready for Your Morning the Night Before
I know the temptation to watch a movie before bed when it’s so dark outside. But the blue light from our computers’ or TV’s screens can negatively impact your sleep. Poor-quality sleep, in return, can have a significant impact on physical health. As a rule of thumb, you want to stay away from screens at least 2 hours before your bedtime.
We all know the countless benefits from exercising. However, knowing something is good for you doesn’t always mean we do it, right? Exercise is one of those things you have to fake it till you make it. At first you might hate it all together, but once you get into the habit, it’s hard to go without it. I have found that if I exercise in the morning it energises me for the rest of the day. If you find it hard to start a workout routine, find someone that will go to with you to a yoga class or gym. Usually we don’t want to let other people down and will make it a priority.
Also, getting some fresh air is essential. Walking outside during the day will give you a few short doses of sunlight, also shown to boost mood, particularly in the winter. Schedule some power-walks regularly to fight off winter fatigue.
Socialise And Get Out More
I know the temptation of spending dark, cold days wrapped in a cozy blanket at home with a book or in front of Netfix is huge. But it’s a short-term gratification with long-term risks. Not getting out for weeks is actually the worst thing we can do for our physical and mental well-being. I’m trapped in my apartment at the moment because I’m sick and I realised it leads to even lower energy levels, sleep pattern issues, and a generally darker mood. Plan fun winter programs such as meet up with friends, visit seminars, get outside to the forest, and don’t hibernate yourself.
Keep it Balanced
Overindulging in comfort food, giving up to the holiday stress, too much time indoors or in front of the screen – giving in to temptations is very easy during this time. It’s like the dark weather can conceal our bad habits as well. While there is no need to say no to delicious holiday food or hot cocoa, we need to keep everything in balance. Try choose quality over quantity, keeping healthy options at home, adding fruits and vegetables to everything, exercising regularly and meeting with friends and family as we talked before.
Natural Harmoning Scents
I have found natural stents to be the quickest mood lifter I know! When you use good, quality soy wax candles, not only are you getting all the amazing therapeutic properties, but the aroma from the candle actually stimulate regions in the brain, including those controlling immune and emotional centers, helping to balance and lift your mood. The soy candles with natural aroma are ones that I like to use when we’re feeling down or tired.
Spice Up Your Life
Herbs and spices are a great natural way in wintertime to boost your energy levels, strengthen the immune system, and reduce inflammation. Not to mention the mood-balancing, rejuvenating effects as well. Kale powder and cinnamon are everyday staples of my winter diet. I also use ginger and turmeric as much as I can. Add them to smoothies or dishes, spice your tea with cinnamon, slice up the ginger and add to tea, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
I also love green tea. I’ve been drinking a couple of cups a day some days when I finally got perfect green tea from China and Japan. Apart from loving the taste, it’s also my investment for a healthy, long life. I’m kind of intrigued by its thousand years old history, how it’s been used as a natural medicine, and its ties to relaxing rituals. It really is a powerhouse, loaded with antioxidants, polyphenols, and minerals.
Comfort Food Is Great – But A Seasonal, Healthy Diet Is Also Important
You can find food that boost your mood. Food that contains serotonin, chemical that acts as a mood stabiliser, help produce healthy sleeping patterns as well as make you feeling good. You can try eating nuts and seeds, oats, chickpeas and pineapple.
Take Supplements Seriously
Along with maintaining a healthy, natural diet, taking a good quality vitamin supplements will help your body get the nutrition it needs to feel it’s best through the winter. Vital fall and winter vitamins like Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 that many of us have a severe deficiency are the key elements you have to include in your diet.
I took a detailed blood test which has a good results in general, but showed me I have a deficiency of Vitamin D. And I knew the fact that in countries that are further away from equator people don’t get enough Vitamin D. Why didn’t I take my blood test and find out the results earlier? Well, probably because nobody really talks about it and you have to pay for the blood test in a lab which is not cheap. But so worthy to know what is actually happening in you body and which elements you need. I definitely recommend you to examine your blood if you choose to exercise regularly. Otherwise, you can tire out your entire body. I was there and I would like to protect you from that.
Without Vitamin D and B12, I also use ginseng during winter. Ginseng energises the body and boosts its resistance to fatigue. It reduces stress and supports the nervous system. I noticed its stabilising powers a few years back when I had terrible insomnia and I felt tired all the time. Now, I choose to use ginseng drops from the an early autumn to keep my energy levels high and support my mental health throughout the winter.
You can find the vitamins that I use listed bellow. All these vitamins from a company called Global Healing Center where they use only natural ingredients and all of their vitamins are gluten free, not tested on animals and suitable for vegans. The company also belongs to Organic Trade Association and Organic Consumers Association, which is kind of cool to have such a caring brand, right? Here are my top 3 products from the Global Healing Center that I absolutely love and use:
- Vitamin D3 – is an essential nutrient that boosts your immune system, assists with calcium absorption to promote bone strength, supports your nervous system, and promotes brain health. Your brains needs it to function normally every day. Amen.
- Vitamin B12 – I feel thankful that I started using Vitamin B12 and I have a good levels of it as my blood test showed. But so many people lack of it and it’s hard to find a good vitamin B12 supplement. Here is an organic blend of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the two most bioactive forms of vitamin B-12 that will help you feel a super human.
- Ginseng Fusion – I am usually scared that natural supplements would taste bad, but it’s not. Ginseng Fusion is sweet and reminds me of honey. Yum. And it helps your brain function on these foggy winter days. Yay!
Plan a Trip
Finally, if you find it really hard to stay cheerful within your current situation set up a vacation in advance! Looking forward to something is an exciting feeling. Planning such event can only boost your happiness and research supports that theory.
How do you stay motivated during winter? What have you found that works well, and what have you found that doesn’t? Any advice to share with us? Please leave your comments and thoughts below by clicking the “comment” button.
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