If the cold, dark winter months are starting to drag you down, you're not alone. Many people find this time of year challenging. Rest assured, warmer weather and sunnier days are just around the corner! In the meantime, there are plenty of things you can do to lift your spirits.
Here are 10 ways to boost your energy and your mood during the winter months.
1. Bump up your vitamin D intake:
Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, so shorter days and overcast skies mean less vitamin D production. You can increase your vitamin D intake by eating more fish (particularly salmon, sardines, and tuna) and by taking a daily supplement. Along with supporting bone health, bumping up your vitamin D intake can help to relieve fatigue and improve your mood.
2. Get outside and take in as much sunlight as you can:
As mentioned above, sunlight in winter is limited. However, there are always a few days when the sky is clear and the sun is bright. Take advantage of those days! Bundle up and get outside to take in as much sunlight as you can. The bright natural light will energize you and lift your spirits.
3. Eat well; go with nourishing and filling comfort foods:
Go ahead and enjoy some comfort food on a cold winter evening! But choose something that's not only tasty, but also nourishing and filling. Think rich, hearty soups and stews filled with herbs, spices, and plenty of vegetables. You'll feel great eating these kinds of meals, you'll feel satisfied afterwards, and you'll avoid all the mood swings and energy crashes that come from eating poorly.
4. Open a window and let some fresh air inside:
Do you find yourself feeling drowsy in the middle of the day for no apparent reason? It could be due to poor indoor air quality. To prevent heat from escaping, many people keep the windows closed all the time, leading to stale, stuffy air with little or no circulation. Open the windows once in awhile, even briefly, to freshen up the air and get it circulating.
5. Drink enough water to stay hydrated:
Everyone knows how important it is to drink plenty of water during the hot summer months, especially when sweating more than usual. But it's just as important to drink enough water in the winter months. Along with helping to moisturize your skin from the inside out, adequate hydration is necessary to support virtually all of your body's functions. Even mild dehydration can lead to a noticeable dip in energy, and increased mental fog.
6. Do something fun and invigorating:
Is there a class you've been thinking about taking? A recipe you've been wanting to try out? Or perhaps an artistic endeavour you've always wanted to pursue? Now is the perfect time to do it! Getting stuck in a rut can drain your energy and drag you down, so find a way to shake things up. Breaking up your usual routine by doing something new (even a little thing) is a great way to recharge your batteries.
7. Make sure you're getting enough sleep:
Adequate sleep is critical for optimal health and well-being. If you're not getting the sleep you need, both your energy and your immune system will take a hit, making you more prone to getting sick. You'll also be more prone to mood swings and depression.
Work on developing a healthy nighttime routine. Ideally, you want to start winding down an hour or two before you turn in.
8. But don't spend too much time in bed:
Too much time in bed can be just as detrimental as too little. Once your body has received the sleep it needs, staying in bed beyond that point typically won't provide any benefit. Instead, the extra time in bed can leave you feeling tired and sluggish; it can also bring on headaches. Once you're awake, get out of bed and get moving.
9. Find ways to brighten up your living environment:
You're likely spending more time indoors, so why not take steps to make your surroundings as cheery as possible! Tidy things up and clear away clutter. Liven things up with some fresh flowers. Perk up your colour scheme with some inexpensive, brightly coloured sofa cushions. These little touches can make a big difference.
10. Make physical activity a regular part of your routine:
It's easy to slow down and become less active in winter, which directly impacts both your energy and your mood. Find some kind of physical activity that you can commit to, whether it's something you do inside or outdoors, and make it a regular part of your routine.
Image Credits (starting from the top of the page): Andreas Hoja from Pixabay, StockSnap from Pixabay, _Asma_ from Pixabay, congerdesign from Pixabay
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