Starting to feel like you need a good cup of VERY strong coffee to get out of bed in the morning? You’re not alone.
The freezing temperatures and gloomy days can really take a toll on your mood. You might suffer from low motivation, have trouble concentrating, or feel lethargic and sad. But luckily for some, you can manage these feelings with just a few tweaks and lifestyle changes.
Get over a winter slump with these strategies that will lift your spirits and help you beat the blues.
1. Incorporate More Physical Activity
According to Harvard, doing exercise every day is more effective than antidepressants, as it helps release feel-good chemicals in the brain. Just moving a little bit each day can make a huge impact on your well-being. Start by doing an activity you love for just 5 to 10 minutes each day and progressively increase as time goes by. Here are a few ways to get moving:
- Walk around the block every day for 10 minutes.
- Elevate your heart rate by going faster than usual when you walk.
- Cycle to work instead of riding on the train.
- Do a fun cardio workout on YouTube. There are thousands of dance classes, tango lessons, and quick 5-minute HIIT workouts.
2. Get Plenty of Sleep & Stick to a Schedule
When it comes to sleep, keeping a steady sleep schedule can be really beneficial as it keeps your circadian rhythm in balance. Here are a couple of ways to do that:
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Start waking up with the sun each morning.
- Avoid using smartphones in bed as the light prevents the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep.
- Pull the curtains away and expose yourself to sunlight to energize you in the morning.
- Get around 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
3. Watch What You Eat
Some foods are bad for sleep because they’re loaded with caffeine, like chocolate, alcohol, and matcha green tea. But carbohydrates can also spike your blood sugar levels and keep you up at night. So avoid any of these:
- Green and black teas
- Coffee (even decaf)
- Energy drinks
- Foods that contain kola nut
- High-fat foods like French fries, potato chips, mozzarella sticks
- Spicy foods that contain chili peppers, peppercorns, tabasco, sriracha
4. Get Under the Sun
Getting some sunlight can do wonders for your mental health. Just 10 minutes in the sun can increase your levels of vitamin D, which will make you feel less groggy. Sunlight can also balance your serotonin levels, increase melatonin production in the body, and lead to better emotional health.
If you can’t go outside, here are a few other ways you can seek out the sun:
- Open all the curtains in your home during the day
- Sit next to a window where the sun shines through and read your favorite book
- Go for a walk at a nearby park during your lunch break
- Take a few minutes off work to walk around the block
As the days get shorter, you might feel sluggish and tired. But these simple lifestyle changes can provide some relief and help you feel more like yourself. If your feelings of “sadness” feel more like “depression”, it might be time to make an appointment with your doctor.