I’ll be the first to admit that January has to be one of my most least-liked months of the year. However, I’m trying to change that. As a born-and-raised Floridian I gravitate to sunshine and longer days, but I want to be able to participate in all of the seasons that I now experience living up north. While fall and summer are my favorite seasons (#basic), winter, post-Christmas is a little harder to adapt to.
Here are a few tried and true ways I’m fighting off my winter blues:
Embrace the Season
Despite the bone-chilling temperatures and short days, there are a number of things to do during the winter months. It’s dark out, so sleep more. Nine out of 10 times it’s freezing, so drink more hot soups, broths, and tea. Winter is a time of rest and reflection, so it’s best to use these months to stay indoors while not feeling guilty. Other seasonal perks? Indulge in a spa session. Cozy up to a fireplace with a new book. Grab some friends for a ski trip! Winter offers a number of advantages, so embrace them all with gratitude.
Eat “Happy Foods”
There is more and more research that shows that the foods you eat are key to the communication within the nervous system and the overall functioning of the brain. A diet high in sugar, gluten, omega-6 fatty acids, and toxins can have detrimental effects on the brain and thus on our mental health. However, by avoiding (or at least decreasing) your intake of these items can improve your health.
A few well-known foods to put you in a good mood? Berries, fish and avocados (for their omega-3 fatty acids), spinach (for iron/energy), quinoa and eggs.
Make Time for People You Love
It can be very tempting to go into a Netflix coma during the winter months, but try to break up your week by seeing family, friends and loved ones. I often realize during the months after the holidays that I need of a bit of a social-detox, but after a few days go by, I’m ready to crawl through a blizzard and visit the people I care about. There’s something about contagious laughter, a little advice/or vent-session (usually about the weather) and a warm hug that always does the trick for me when facing gloomier days.
Get Some Sun
Before medications or supplements, try getting at least 25-3o minutes of natural sunlight. Even your walk to work in the morning can help you with this! Vitamin D encourages the production of endorphins while benefiting your nervous system and lowering your anxiety. If there are more gloomy mornings, a “happy” light box can be a helpful coping tool, too.
Another great way to get some sunshine? Plan a winter escape.
Start Planning for Summer
I personally find myself feeling lighter when I’m looking forward to something. Take advantage of your downtime to look into budget-friendly airfare, places to stay and anything else you need for a vacation or two in the upcoming months – usually rates are better the farther out you book them. The quicker you have something nailed down, the easier (and cheaper) it is to relax once that trip arrives.
What is your favorite way to beat the winter blues?