Winter has finally come and for many of us, it’s been here far too long already. Indeed, weeks on end of the cold and dark start to take their toll on the way we feel.
Popularly known as the winter blues, 10 million Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) every year. This debilitating depressive condition is seasonal in nature- hitting hard in the fall and/or winter.
Thankfully, SAD abates when the weather changes for the better. In the interim, though, finding an effective mood lifter is all-important to weathering the storm!
We want to help in that endeavor. Are you struggling with a bad case of the winter blues and want a way to start feeling better?
Keep reading to discover seven of the best ways to lift your mood this winter season!
1. Reframe the Situation
Let’s face it: few people revel in the thought of weeks and months of bad weather.
Alas, there’s not a lot to be done about it! When the environment’s outside of our control, there’s only one way forward to change our reaction to it.
Now, altering our mindset isn’t easy. But it is, often, the only way to truly take control of a situation.
Instead of bemoaning the winter struggle, why not try and reframe it in more positive terms? See it as a time to hunker down, watch movies, eat good food and relax at home with friends and family.
2. Get Physical
Exercise is one of the best possible ways to lift your mood!
It gets the heart beating and the blood pumping, releasing endorphins and mood-lifting neurochemicals into your system. Even better, you get fitter and healthier in the process, which is a natural antidote to low mood.
Of course, winter has a nasty habit of hindering attempts at exercise. Few people revel in the thought of running in the cold, wind and rain!
Try to switch up your exercise regime. Look for indoor opportunities to get physical, such as going to the gym, or partaking in indoor group fitness classes.
3. Try Meditation
There’s nothing like a low mood to distract you from the present moment.
It’s all too easy to get bogged down in past troubles and future concerns. The mind can run away and become embroiled in an endless cycle of negativity!
Meditating is an effective way to combat this issue and root yourself in the here-and-now instead.
Try building in a short meditational practice into your daily routine. Sit in a comfortable position, focus on something sensory (like your breathing) and spend time minutes focused on the present moment.
With commitment and a bit of practice, you’ll feel the positive impact in no time.
4. Hang Out With Loved Ones
Find yourself feeling down this winter?
Well, think about looking for some company from loved ones. Being with others in the winter months is another sure-fire way to better your mood.
Humans are social animals after all.
We enjoy a natural lift from sharing our experience with others- not just in winter, but throughout the entire year!
In the cold months, it makes a mighty difference though. For one thing, it provides a handy distraction. People can bring you out of your shell and take your mind off any troubles.
This brief respite from inner angst can be all it takes to remove the burden.
5. Do Something Nice for Others
In the throes of the winter blues, it pays to remember that it feels good to do good!
Acts of kindness for others automatically leave you feeling warmer and happier. It’s a natural by-product of the process.
Again, there’s an evolutionary component to this phenomenon. In the past, human survival was ensured by strong interpersonal relationships and bonds. Working together facilitated the survival of the group. As such, a reward mechanism developed to incentivize acts of good.
Try it out this winter! Help an elderly person cross an icy road, buy somebody’s groceries for them at the store, donate to charity, or volunteer at a local charity. You might be surprised at how good you’ll feel as a result.
6. Eat Good (Healthy) Food
A healthy diet is crucial to our mental and physical wellbeing.
Our minds and bodies rely upon being given the right fuel to operate at their best. Alas, a diet of saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods isn’t what it needs!
Pay special attention to what you eat this winter.
Endeavor to eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. A lack of particular nutrients can have a profound impact on the way we feel. Eat right and you’ll feel energized and content. Eat wrong and you’re more likely to feel low and lethargic.
7. Get Outside More
As we noted before, the weather in winter doesn’t always incentivize outdoor pursuits!
It’s often wet, snowy, windy and cold. Heading outside on days like that isn’t many peoples’ idea of fun. Brave the conditions, though, and you’re sure to feel a positive effect on your mood.
Get outside whenever possible- regardless of the weather! Wrap up warm and head out to stretch your legs and get a change of scenery.
This is particularly important if/when the sun’s shining.
Vitamin D deficiency is rife in the US, and it only gets worse in the dark winter months. Make the most of the opportunity to top up your levels of vitamin D by getting outside on sunny days! You’ll feel your mood lift in no time.
Time to Pick a Mood Lifter
The winter blues (otherwise known as SAD) are no laughing matter.
SAD impacts millions of people around the country each year, lowering moods and making the winter months a trying time.
Are you struggling with SAD right now? Well, finding a mood lifter to pull you from the depths of despair is surely high on your agenda. Hopefully, this post has highlighted a selection of top mood-enhancing ideas to help you out!
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