I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about springtime.
This post is a little bit late, seeing as we’re no longer in the depths of winter, but I wanted to share some tips on this topic anyways because this was a viewer request a few weeks ago and I’m also no stranger to the low mood that often accompanies long, drawn-out winters.
I’ve been there. In years past I’ve had points, usually come February, where my mood is lower, I feel darker, and I crave warmth and the ability to go outside without a hundred thousand layers of clothing. It’s not a good place to be and this whole low-mood-thing is no joke.
So whether you’re in a bit of a rut, feeling down or experiencing some Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), here’s how to overcome the winter blues!
5 STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME THE WINTER BLUES
1. GET OUTSIDE
It’s as simple as that! Now, I hear you: If you’re here in Canada when there are -30C days, the last thing you want to do is go outside and it’s completely reasonable to stay cozy indoors. But on days when you can for even just 10 to 30 minutes, get outside!
Nature has undeniable uplifting power. Even if you’re feeling lazy about it, push yourself to go for a walk. If possible, scroll through a park or near a forest or body of water. Sit, breathe and just be in the stillness of nature. Nature can lift our spirits, ground us, and remind us that everything is okay.
There is so much to learn from the natural world. Take a tree for example. It’s as patient and forgiving as can be.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. -Lao Tzu
Spending time in nature any time of the year – including a snowy forest in the middle of winter – can still be a beautiful and uplifting spiritual experience. Plus, getting outside means more physical activity which means more endorphins which means more happiness!
2. VITAMIN D
This fabulous vitamin is very important for mental health. Understandably, it’s not always as easy to obtain vitamin D in the winter months. We’re either not spending enough time in the sun (which is how we synthesize vitamin D) or we’re wearing a boatload of layers.
Vitamin D supports bone health, immune function, dry skin, and yes – mental health and optimal mood balance!
If you’re experiencing SAD, consider seeing your doctor for some blood work and be sure to speak to your healthcare practitioner for the appropriate dose.
The average person can generally take 1000-5000IU per day. I like this brand here.
3. NOURISH YOUR BODY
Even in the winter – and especially if you’re feeling down – you gotta nourish your body!
Years ago I experienced a severe depressive episode and I remember feeling so apathetic. I didn’t care about much, I lost my spark for life, and I quickly discovered how easy it was to throw our health or proper eating habits out the window.
But nourishing ourselves with nutrient dense foods that are colourful and rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients means we physically feel better by supporting our body, mentally feel better about ourselves, and benefit from the countless properties in whole foods that promote mood balance and energy:
Healthy fats like omega-3s found in fish, nuts, seeds and eggs are anti-inflammatory and support cognitive function and blood sugar regulation
Better food = better digestion = better brain function because our gut and brain are very intricately connected!
Proper, restful, sleeping-through-the-night sleep is extremely important if you’re feeling low. I repeat: extremely important! If you need some help to improve your sleep, check out these 7 tips.
Winter is a weird time for sleep schedules. The days are shorter, it’s darker early, but one of the best things we can do is simply go to bed and wake up at same time each day to help maintain healthy sleep schedules and promote better sleep.
When we sleep restfully we reduce inflammation, allow our cells to regenerate and heal, regulate our appetite (this means less cravings during the day), and set ourselves up for far better mood, reduced irritability and balances energy levels.
5. POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
I want to shed some light on the importance of speaking positively to ourselves. Our emotional state is very easily influenced by the things we say to ourselves.
Feeling happy and uplifted is a choice. and we can take steps to improve the way we feel. Our thoughts directly impact our emotions which impact our actions.
I don’t care how weird you think it feels to repeat positive statements to yourself or if you don’t believe ’em, this is life changing stuff, I promise!
TIP: If you’re prone to negative self-talk or feeling low, write down positive statements around your room or where easily visible so you can be reminded. Check out my free downloadable Affirmations Guide. The more you say positive – or negative – phrases, the more you’ll believe them. Our mind believes what it’s repeatably being told.
Let me know in the comments: what do you do to lift your mood if you’re feeling down?
Wishing you a bright, sunny month of March!
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