There's lots of good things about the holiday season but that doesn't mean the chilly weather and dark afternoons can't take a toll on your mood. If you or someone you know sometimes gets hit with the cold weather blues, we're here for you. Here are 7 tips you can use to keep your mood up when the temperatures go down.
1. Let in More Light
Open up your home's blinds and curtains to expose it, and yourself, to some natural light - especially in your bedroom, before bed. Not only does natural light give your home a warm glow; waking up to the sun helps keep your circadian rhythm in check and helps your body get more sunlight before heading into work - where you'll miss a lot of it, being stuck inside.
Part of why some of us feel down in the colder months is that we see less daylight - it's dark when we wake up, and it's dark soon after getting home from work (thanks a lot, Daylight Saving Time). Light is important for helping your body regulate things like your sleep schedule and your mood, so let in the sun!
2. Add Some More Light
If you don't find that letting in more natural light into your home boosts your mood, try adding more light with mood-boosting lamps. One light you can get for your home is a light box. These bright lights mimic the light and warmth of the sun, helping your body get more of the light it needs to feel good. Put the box somewhere you'll be near it for anywhere from 15-30 minutes at the start of the day to increase mood and energy levels.
You could also try grabbing a dawn simulator for your bedroom. These simulators help you get your day started by letting off a little bit of light when you program them to, and gradually brighten over a set period of time - similar to how the sun comes into your window to wake you up. Dawn simulator lights not only help you wake up happier, but also make it easier to get out of bed, thanks to that sun-like warmth they give off.
3. Get Complex with Your Carbs
We tend to crave junk and comfort food during the colder months because their sugars and refined flours give us a quick mood boost. The problem is, our bodies soon get used to those fast mood fixes, keeping us craving more bad stuff, without really making us feel better. Instead, keep your body happier for longer by eating foods that take longer to digest.
Complex carbs, whole grains, and foods full of omega-3s will fill you up, so you won't crave junk later. These types of foods also help raise your brain's serotonin levels and keep tiredness at bay by giving your body a source of long term energy for the day. Try ramping up your morning with a warm bowl of oatmeal or a mood-lifting banana; and during the day, snack on some endorphin-releasing dark chocolate or omega-3 rich walnuts. Need more mood-boosting food ideas? Check out Food Network's list of easy to make, tasty treats that will make you feel good.
4. Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins help you grow big and strong, but they can also help you say goodbye to the cold weather blues. Known as the "sunlight hormone", vitamin D boosts your mood while also regulating your sleep and eating schedule, and helping to treat and prevent other ailments like the flu, heart disease, and chronic pain.
Your body does make its own vitamin D, but only after your skin's been exposed to enough sunlight. Less sun when fall rolls around means less vitamin D, and more bummy days for your mood. So try taking vitamin D supplements in the fall and winter months. Doing so helps your body keep getting the amount of vitamin D it would get from the sun during the spring or summer.
Whether you swear by it or believe its a hoax, exercise is proven to boost your mood by increasing the amount of endorphins and oxygen flowing through your body. But don't think you have to grab a gym membership to feel better this fall. Dancing around the house or even taking a walk around your neighborhood can be enough movement to boost your endorphins and give you the positive mood bump you need.
7. Head Out Once in a While
It's definitely tempting to stay bundled indoors when the cold weather comes, but too many days cooped up inside can make you feel antsy and worn out by your same old, same old. So make a point to try a new restaurant with friends or go to your favorite bar for drinks with your boo. Seeing or doing something new is always a great way to lift your spirits, and regularly spending time with people you care about always fills you with warm fuzzies.
How do you beat the cold weather blues? Share your happy tips and tricks with us on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV.