In winter, when the sun goes down early, it’s easy to let your mood sink with it.
Whether you find you’re affected by the lack of daylight or simply find yourself feeling a less than your best when life’s stresses get in the way, the good news is there’s plenty of easy steps you can take to help give you a lift.
Check out our favourite simple and natural ways to help battle those winter blues…
1. Go for a walk
It may sound overly simple, but exercise is a huge mood booster. It’s been proven that with light exercise every day, your body releases more endorphins (happy hormones) that keep you feeling balanced.
2. Eat Healthy
Watching what you eat is hard during the winter, especially with the big festivals of Christmas and New Year’s being right in the middle of the season. But foods that are high in processed fat and sugar will leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Balancing out your diet with some good fats; nuts, which reduce anxiety, and wild salmon, which is a natural antidepressant can go a long way. Also, try to include some complex carbohydrates, like whole grain bread and pastas – they will keep your metabolism even and your mood up.
3. Indulge in some dark chocolate
Amazingly, this little treat can boost your mood. Chocolate contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which boosts serotonin levels in the brain.
4. Play with a pet
Studies have shown that petting a dog or a cat can release all the hormones associated with good feelings, such as serotonin and oxytocin. If you don’t have a pet of your own, consider offering a friend or neighbour to take their dog for a walk.
5. Watch what you drink
It’s common during the festive periods to have a bit of a tipple, and that’s fine in moderation, but alcohol is a depressant and a few nights of drinking can leave a lasting depressive effect a few days later.
6. Get some sleep – but not too much
Everyone has different needs when it comes to sleeping, but getting a good night’s sleep will leave you feeling recharged. Try to stay away from your TV or computer screen just before bed as this can make it more difficult to fully unwind.
7. Take a bath
An interesting study carried out at Yale University showed that taking a bath was an effective substitute for social interaction when people were feeling a bit lonely. On top of that, if you’re feeling stressed it is a great way to relax and spend some time concentrating on yourself.
8. Let plenty of light in
It’s short on supply in the winter, but daylight is a great mood booster. Sunlight is vital to our mental health, and making the most of the little we get in the colder months is essential. Keep your curtains open during the day, your house will feel airier and you will feel less enclosed.
9. Get creative
Writing down your feelings in a journal, or painting how you feel has proven an effective therapy for people wanting to relieve stress. A study at Boston College showed that people became happier when they expressed their feelings through artwork.
10. Meet up with friends
Social contact is very important for human beings, we’re social by nature, and it’s shown that when we are with other people, we laugh more, smile more and touch more, all things that will work to improving your mood.
What are your best mood-boosting tips?