Does your snowman wear a frown?
A lot of people are affected by the Winter Blues, known medically as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This condition is most likely caused by the reduced amount of sunlight in the late fall and winter months, and it causes many people to feel very depressed without any outside stimulation to cause it. Does this sound like you? If it does, I'm here to help with 10 ways to make yourself a little happier this season.
1. Get outside.
Since you are spending a lot more time indoors, now is a great time to immerse yourself in a new hobby. This can even be your new year's resolution! Find a passion that gets your excited and keeps you occupied for hours. You won't have any time to think about the things that get you down.
Writing is a great way to get out those pent-up emotions. Instead of talking to someone about your problems, which can only extend the time you think about your troubles, or keeping them to yourself, mulling them over in your mind for hours, write down your thoughts. It supplies the release you need by sharing your thoughts, but once you've written them down, the conversation is over and you can move on. Additionally, journaling is a great way to achieve your new year's resolutions - keep a log of your eating, finances, and anything else you want to improve.
4. Increase Your Intake of Vitamin D
Speaking of eating healthier, increasing Vitamin D in your diet can be a great way of supplementing that luck of sunshine. Vitamin D, normally soaked up through our skin from the sun, can greatly contribute to your mood elevation or depression. Vitamin D can be found in fish, eggs, and dairy products made from whole milk. If you don't think you're getting enough in your diet, consider asking your personal physician to do some blood work - if you find your body's lacking, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. Make sure you choose one from a reputable brand and take it as instructed to reap the greatest benefits.
Volunteering is a great way to increase your own joy while helping someone else as well. It's proven that helping others makes us feel better about ourselves - it gives us a sense of community, importance, and usefulness, and it can be a a great way to meet other people and better the world around you. This is an especially good idea for anyone who is feeling lonely this winter. You'll be working with others and meeting other people who you can build relationships with that will keep you feeling happy and loved all through the year.
6. Declutter Your Surroundings
Don't wait for spring cleaning to get your organize your belongings. A cluttered environment can increase anxiety. Take a day to clean up the house and give yourself room to breathe. Donate items you no longer need. Gift items you think someone you know would love. Make yourself a spot where you can sit and relax when you need a moment of peace.
7. Cook a Hearty Meal
In the winter, we tend to have some unhealthy eating habits. Some, because of depression, tend to eat to little, while others eat to much. Meanwhile, there are plenty of sugary temptations to wreak havoc on our diet and digestive systems. A great way to solve this problem, and improve your mood, is to take this time to cook yourself a hearty meal. It will keep you from snacking unhealthily through the day (if you're a chronic eater), or it will force you to actually sit down and eat a nutritious meal (if you tend to stay away from food when you're in a bad mood). Make sure the meal is high in protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and carbohydrates with a high fiber content so you feel satisfied. Cooking is a great hobby that can be fueled into a way to beat depression, while eating the delicious food increases your serotonin levels, making you happier.
Exercise increases your endorphin levels, which makes you a very happy person. Additionally, it makes you healthier and can help you achieve that new year's resolution you've been working on for years now. Take the time to do a 30 minute workout each day and you'll love the results.
9. Enjoy Free Activities in Your City
There are lots of indoor events that happening in your city during the winter to keep you entertained and get you out of the house. Check your local libraries page for special events. Look up local museums to see if they are featuring a gallery free-of-charge or having a free-admission day. Check if your local community college is having any free concerts. Get out and about and enjoy the world around you.
10. Drink Lots of Water
This is quite possibly the most simple and most important thing you can do to improve your mood. A dehydrated body is an unhappy body. Make sure you are drinking at least 64oz of water a day, every day, not just in the winter. You'll find yourself having more energy, a happier mood, and a healthier body.
The winter blues can turn what would otherwise be another beautiful season into dreaded, dreary months. Take some time to elevate your mood and enjoy life around you - every moment is precious, and you deserve to spend it smiling.