3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Mood in Winter
By Liz Madley
Surely everyone gets the winter blues at some point? Especially at this time of year, towards the end of the winter, when spring and summer are just around the corner, but the dark, dull days have worn on to a point where energy is flagging. Will spring ever come?
Well yes of course summer is on the way- but here are some tips to banish those winter blues and get through the tail end of the cold season.
You have probably heard this many times, but it does hold true. Getting some of your preferred method of exercise is the fastest way to boost your mood. My chosen weapon against winter blues is ashtanga yoga – the combination of increased heart rate and stretching releases endorphins for feel-good chemicals and stress relief.
I like the way I can fit my practice in around my day to day activities, but if you prefer a regular class at the gym, go for it. Even just finding time for a walk in the park can have many benefits. Studies have shown that walking on grass is good for your psychological state and getting some sunlight rather than staying indoors gives you more chance to get vitamin D, which is a key ingredient for fighting depression.
But don’t be too hard on yourself exercise through the week but make sure that you give yourself time off when you are feeling run down. Never use exercise as a punishment and listen to your body.
2. Do Something New
Research has shown that getting out of your comfort zone can improve your mood, because the experience of doing something alien tricks your brain out of routine thought patterns. Recently I took my mother for a day out around Birmingham’s historic “back to back” houses, which were built in the 1700s to be homes for thousands of city dwellers, and saved from demolition in the 1960s. Walking through these houses, furnished with the belongings of people from long ago was like going back in a time machine and definitely provided an escape. The National Trust in the UK is fantastic if you like history, but otherwise just have a look in your local area for new wildlife areas, new cuisine restaurants, art exhibitions, extreme sports shows you might be surprised what you find.
3. Go to Bed Early a Couple of Nights a Week
In general you need about eight hours a night to feel rested, as a requirement for the human body. However, what with work, family and shockingly! actually having a good time socialising, it’s very easy to stay up late every night. Especially if you have had a long day at work, sometimes you feel like staying up late just to get some time back for yourself. The problem with this is that you can build up a “sleep debt” and being to feel tired all the time, which is a mood-killer. Try to aim for those 8 hours every night when you can give or take half an hour to an hour and see how you feel. Allow yourself to go to bed early a couple of nights a week and see how the world is a different place when you wake up.
Here’s to a healthy and happy tail-end of winter for everyone!