Are you feeling the seasonal gloom as the days get shorter and the nights get colder? Throughout the winter months, it’s common to feel a dip in our mood – with one in three of us affected by SAD disease (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Thankfully there are many ways to shake off the gloom.
Listed below are seven mood-boosting ways that you can give yourself an instant lift, and perhaps even provide a lift to those around you…
1. Wake up and smell the lemons
To put the zing back into those dark, winter mornings, simply apply a drop of lemon essential oil to your wrists and breathe in the scent. Research suggests that a stimulant oil such as lemon is proven to enhance your mood, and more so than a relaxant oil such as lavender.
If lemon is not your favourite scent, try other citrus scents such as grapefruit, wild orange, or mandarin.
2. Eat as a family (even if you’re working from home)
It’s not just what you put into your body that affects your mood, but how you eat your meals and who you dine with. To boost your mood, switch your solo sandwich for a meal with friends and family. The advantages are threefold. Psychologically, sharing mealtimes with the company is an instant mood booster.
Socially, you get to connect with others and this helps to create a sense of belonging. Biologically, holding a conversation with others over a meal helps us to slow down our food intake, making it a lot easier to digest, which in turn keeps our gut happy. Three great reasons to ear together!
3. Be kind
Whether it’s offering your seat to someone on your commute home, helping a neighbour out, making dinner for a friend, or sending a bouquet of beautiful blooms to a loved one, being kind is a great mood booster! There are plenty of bold and beautiful blooms available at online florists such as Serenata Flowers that offer same-day and next-day flower delivery.
Random acts of kindness cost very little yet are proven to significantly reduce symptoms of depression, which in turn can help to boost your mood as you’ll know you’ve brightened up someone’s day.
4. Eat well
Carbohydrates are the ideal ingredient for a great night’s sleep, which in turn does wonders to beat those winter blues. Carbohydrates including the likes of sweet potato and oats which help tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier – this then converts into serotonin and then melatonin, which prepares the body for a good night’s sleep.
Winter blues can also be caused by a deficiency in antioxidants or vitamin B. Ensure your body has these nutrients by piling your plate with chicken, whole-grains, mushrooms, broccoli, and root veg. Brazil nuts, cod, and cottage cheese are other great foods to add to your diet, as they all are rich in antioxidants.
Try to eat three hours before going to bed so that your body has time to digest before sleeping.
5. Sing away the winter blues
Whether you choose to sing in the shower, in the car, on the way to work, or together with your family or housemates, a good old sing song is the ultimate mood booster. Studies suggest that singing alone and in unison helps us to shut down mind chatter and release feel-good hormones such as oxytocin – great if you’re feeling down.
6. Focus on your goals
Now that the nights are drawing in and the days are getting colder, many of us have more time on our hands than usual. Instead of letting the days dwindle away, use this extra time to focus on your ambitions and bringing them to life!
Even putting a plan in place is a start and can be just what you need as you head into the new year as having goals means you’ll have something to strive for. You could even start thinking up some new year’s resolutions so you’re ready for when the clock strikes 12 on 31 December!
It can be extremely easy to throw on our PJs as soon as we get in from work, switch on the TV, and resign ourselves to an evening of relaxation. Although needed every now and again, it’s important to not get into a rut. Make yourself go out at least once or twice a week with friends if you can.
Catching up with your nearest and dearest is a must if you wish to keep those winter blues at bay, whilst also keeping your brain active and your social skills intact!
Following the above tips will certainly help you to heighten your mood and get you through the dark nights and wintry days – preparing you for the spring and summer months that are yet to come!