When Jack Frost comes knocking and your mood falls faster than the temperature, these small alternations to your lifestyle can lift those spirits again.
1. Brighten your environment.
Open the blinds, sit close to the window, trim back to the tree branches, or purchase yourself an artificial light. When your body is craving sunlight, (not to mention its daily dose of vitamin D!), 30 minutes per day next to an artificial light can be as effective as antidepressant medication.
Alternatively, try buying a dawn simulator. This device gradually brightens the light in your bedroom over time, and can make it a heck of a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning.
2. Stay Active
I know, I know. This is easier said than done.
When it comes to physical activity, it's important to start small. Instead of resolving to go to the gym four times a week, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator, choose to walk instead of drive for short distances, or sign up for a weekly class that involves physical activity.
Exercise releases endorphins, which can be an amazing stress-buster.
3. Jam out to some happy music
Several studies have shown the benefits of listening to cheery music. It can significantly improve your mood, both in the short and long term. If you're stuck for a place to start, check out this list on 8tracks...
4. Be generous
Nothing beats the feeling of contributing to the happiness of others. Scientists agree! "There is what's called dopamine, which is a hormone and a neurotransmitter, that is released in your brain if you do help," says Alisha Sabourin, an Edmonton-based therapist.
Help someone else that seems a little down, by making a thoughtful gift for them.
Volunteer at a community center or charity that does work you are passionate about.
Bake cookies for your neighbor.
Get involved in a way that is meaningful to you.
5. Eat a healthy diet
Make a point of choosing healthy options for every meal. Filling up on refined and processed foods can suck your energy away and cause for a lack of concentration. So avoid too much white bread, rice, and sugar. Instead, opt for whole wheat breads, brown rice, and lots of veggies and fruit. Don't forget H2O! Your body will have an easier time operating at its best when you give it premium fuel.
6. Find elements of the season to embrace
This is tricky, and not for everyone. Winter can feel so blah! Creating ways to celebrate the season through ritual, ceremony, and highlighting the good things in your life can lift your spirits. Don't know where to start? Here are some suggestions that may work for you.
1. Do you have a least favorite day of the week? Pick something special to do for yourself on this day. Buy yourself a coffee on the way to work. Have a bath after dinner. Creating routine with small, pleasant rituals, can make a big difference.
2. Plan a fun outdoor adventure to engage in. Snowball fight with friends. Skating and hot chocolate. Tubing. Skiing. Snowboarding.
3. If you're not an outdoor person, try hosting fun activities to do inside. Have your friends over for a coloring night. Invite everyone to bring one ingredient to a soup and make a large batch for a simple, cozy dinner party. Find a TV show that everyone would be interested in getting together to watch every week.
7. Be self compassionate
I will never forget the time someone said to me, "People think they're cool when they can survive on two, three, four hours of sleep. To me, that's not cool. That's a profound lack of self respect."
This can apply to many areas in our lives that we skip out on. Treating yourself with compassion is important. Not only because it will help you to feel happier, but it will also allow you to give your best to the world every day.