Beating the Winter Blues

If you’re starting to feel like nothing but a very full, very strong pot of coffee will get you out of bed, join the club. Holiday bills are high, temperatures are low, and the days are way too short. Here are some ways to lift your spirits for feeling chipper in the freezing weather:

Winter blues are strongly linked with falling levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin that occur at this time of year. This is because enzymes that absorb serotonin become more active as days get shorter. Researchers at Princeton University in the United States have found that rhythmic movements such as jiggling your leg, tapping your finger or chewing gum increase the release of serotonin.
You can also raise your levels via diet adding a serotonin-boosting food at each meal like turkey, bean sprouts, asparagus, sunflower seeds, lobster, cottage cheese, pineapple, tofu, spinach and bananas.

Embrace comfort
If you spend the whole winter moaning about the cold, the dark and the wet, you’re guaranteed to feel down. Focus on the joys of winter, make a list of things you can only do now, such as going skiing or watching snow fall, or things that are just better done in winter, such as spending the night curled up with a book or drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, and aiming to do one of them every day.

Find your winter scent
Your sense of smell is directly connected to your moods and feelings, via your limbic system; choosing the right smells for your environment can help beat the winter blues and even ease symptoms like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Relaxing smells like lavender or chamomile can soothe mental stress, while spicy aromas like ginger and cardamom help you feel re-energised.

Boost your magnesium
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has been linked to low melatonin levels. If you’re not sleeping well, you’re going to naturally produce lower levels of melatonin. Magnesium helps promote deeper sleep, so raise levels in your diet with foods such as nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables, or try using magnesium oil on your skin.

Make your environment brighter
When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine.

Turn on the tunes
Research has shown that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.

Get outside
Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big: Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels.

Hope this helps a little.

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