Winter is officially here. For many areas of the country, that means darker, shorter days, cloudy skies, and colder temperatures.
While some people love this time of year, it can be a struggle for others. It’s estimated that about 5% of adults in the U.S. deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Even more people tend to feel down and sluggish this time of year. If winter tends to make you feel like staying in bed all day, or you know that it brings down your mood and makes you feel more depressed, you’re not alone.
But, you also don’t need to feel that way all season long.
There are things you can do to improve your mood this winter, and perhaps even enjoy what the season has to offer. Let’s look at some mood-boosting ideas that can help you to survive the season and stay positive until spring arrives.
1. Eat the Right Diet
You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying “you are what you eat.” There’s a lot of truth to that, especially when it comes to your mood. People tend to crave “comfort foods” in the winter, which often consist of fat-and-sugar-laden items that might taste good in the moment but leave you feeling sluggish and sick later.
Cooking healthy meals this season is a great way to boost your mood for a few reasons. First, cooking is a wonderful way to use your creativity. It can make you feel inspired and happy when you create your own dish. You can also use bright, colorful, fresh ingredients that might momentarily make it easier to forget about the dreariness outside.
Finally, eating a healthy diet will naturally give you more energy. You’ll be more motivated to do more throughout the day, rather than just stay in bed. Keeping yourself busy is a great way to fight back against the winter blues, and the right diet can help.
Speaking of staying busy, staying physically active is a great way to do it. Exercise is one of the best natural mood-boosters there is. Even just 30 minutes of physical activity each day can make a huge difference in your life. It will give you more energy, improve your outlook, and can even make you feel happy.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your exercise routines this winter. Consider working out at home, or take advantage of the snowy season by trying something like skiing or snowshoeing.
3. Spend More Time With People
One of the worst things you can do in the winter is to isolate yourself. It can be tempting, especially if you’re feeling down. But, social interaction is hugely important when it comes to improving your mood.
Get together with friends and family members as often as possible. Set weekly lunch dates. Call people on the phone. Have Zoom chats with friends who live elsewhere. Social interaction will help you to feel less alone, no matter how dark and dreary the days get.
4. Find Ways to De-Stress
This is a perfect time of year to practice relaxation techniques. If the season has you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it can lead to more sadness and depression.
Consider combatting that stress with different relaxation techniques, including mindfulness and meditation. These techniques allow you to focus on the present moment, as well as your breathing. You can use them as a way to center yourself and re-focus on the things that are important, rather than the things that might be stressing you out or bringing you down.
If you’re struggling with your mood this winter, you’re certainly not alone. Try these solutions to make things a bit brighter, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if needed.