Whether it’s the short days and gloomy weather or the bustle of holiday shopping, this time of year can often elicit a bad case of the winter blues. Instead of hibernating through the winter to avoid it, lift your spirits with a natural mood-booster. Here are seven simple ways to do this.
1. Get Moving
As you may have heard, exercise can actually improve mood well after the exercise ends. I always feel better about myself after a workout, even if it’s a short one, but it can be hard to get motivated when you’re stressed on a cold day. The best way to get the body moving amid those slumps—when I hardly want to get out of bed, let alone exercise—is to keep things simple: Try a ten- or twenty-minute workout, or fit in some simple yoga poses throughout the day. If you’re already on the floor playing with your kids, for example, bust out a plank pose for a tunnel they can crawl underneath. You might even make this a contest for how long you can all hold it.
2. Schedule Time for Absolutely Nothing
When the holiday season hits, the calendar fills up fast with activities. It often gets to a point when things that are meant to be fun lose their appeal because we’re overscheduled. Instead of feeling anxious about yet another event, schedule some family downtime. Nothing melts away a bad mood faster than lounging in your jammies on a cold weekend morning.
Different scents can actually have a powerful effect on your mood. Whenever a case of the winter blues hits, one of my favorite things to do is light a scented candle and let the aroma fill the whole house. Another way to use scents therapeutically is with a warm bath. The soothing lavender smell of a naturally scented soap like Natural Beauty Bar Relaxing, coupled with a soak in the tub, can help you unwind after a busy day.
4. Keep a Gratitude Journal
You’re told to “count your blessings” every now and then, but sometimes that advice isn’t well-delivered. Turning a bad mood around, for me, can indeed be as simple as the thought of all the things I’m grateful for. So, at the end of a lousy day, take a quick minute to jot down at least one good thing in your life. This can also be a fun, uplifting activity for your whole family this holiday season. As I tuck my daughter into bed at night, we each share a moment from the day, or just something in general to which we don’t give thanks very often—and it always leaves a smile on my face as I close her door.
5. Treat Yourself
When life gets a little harried, it’s important to squeeze in some “me time.” As a mom of two, taking care of myself is usually the last thing on my mind, but it’s difficult to care for others if you don’t first take care of yourself. You don’t have to splurge on anything big; just a small, intangible gift to yourself can be enough of a reward for the rest of the week. Take a few minutes to meditate quietly after the kids are in bed, or go see a movie you’ve been wanting to watch on your own. Recently, I turned a moody morning into a happy day just by treating myself to a pumpkin latte.
6. Eat the Blues Away
When a bad case of the winter blues hits, I have a tendency to reach for comfort foods. The key, however, is to keep those foods healthy. Warm, hearty soups are one of my go-to meals on a chilly day. Pick clean-eating recipes based on seasonal foods filled with nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with mood enhancement. Keep in mind eating well doesn’t only make you feel cozy and happy; it also helps improve your overall health.
7. Laugh a Little
They say laughter is the best medicine and I couldn’t agree more. Turn off the news tonight and watch your favorite funny movie, instead. Comedic books are also a great way to get giggling. But my favorite way to laugh, by far, is trading knock-knock jokes with my six-year-old.
What are some natural ways you fight the blues during this season? Share your ideas in the comments!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.