Winter tends to be a less than cheerful time of year, with shorter days and longer nights and all. But if you don’t want to spend the next few months feeling like you’re in perpetual twilight, there are some things you can do to beat the winter blues once and for all! Before long, you’ll be basking in the warmth of your Summery glow! Here are some tips on how to beat the winter blues effectively.
Keep Up Your Sleep Routine
When days get shorter and nights get longer, it’s hard to find enough time to sleep. It’s a winter struggle for most people: You put in your body clock but can’t always keep up with it. Your average nightly requirement is seven hours, but studies have shown that some people need nine or more hours of sleep each night. A winter morning can feel like a significant slog after a full day spent indoors. When you factor in extra daylight from Daylight Savings Time, you may need an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed earlier than usual, so you don’t fall behind on restorative shuteye. If your lack of sleep has become a problem, talk with your medical doctor about improving it.
Take a Break from the News
One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to take a break from all of your traditional media sources. If you’re feeling down, many things can make you feel worse than watching a depressing news report. But by taking a break from what has made you anxious, angry, or upset in recent months—even if it’s just for a day or two—you’ll likely be able to relax enough to start enjoying time with family and friends again. Remember: Taking breaks from media can even positively affect your health and mood over time, too.
Boost Your Mood with Food
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a specific type of depression that happens during the winter months due to reduced exposure to sunlight. If you’re feeling down and unmotivated over cold days and grey skies, try eating more magnesium-rich foods to lift your spirits! Magnesium helps us regulate our moods while boosting brain function and reducing muscle tension. It can also increase serotonin levels in our brains (serotonin is often called the happy hormone).
Do Some Physical Activity
It’s essential to start doing some physical activity to make sure that you can stay fit and healthy, which is a crucial part of beating any moodiness. Whether it’s a gym session or going for a run in your local park, you must push yourself to start doing different physical activities. A little bit of physical activity can be a huge help, so ensure that you keep doing whatever physical activity takes your fancy over winter.
Seek Out the Sun
Chances are you’re not getting enough sunlight in winter. Many of us (especially those in northern states) only get about half as much sun per day as we did back in summer. This lack of exposure to natural light can cause your body to produce less serotonin—which is responsible for that great mood-boosting feeling you get when you spend time outside. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
If you’re not already, start spending at least 30 minutes a day outside on nice days—it will boost your vitamin D intake and improve your mood over time.