How To Beat The Winter Blues
In 1971, a soft rock group called the Carpenters released a song titled Rainy Days and Mondays. Tucked under the tinkling piano melody and the wailing saxophone riff was a line that far too many people can relate to —"rainy days and Mondays always get me down".
Have you ever noticed how the dreary, overcast weather that characterizes winter spoils your mood? You're not imagining it. There is a link between a drop in temperature and a decline in happiness. It might have to do with the chilly winter gust that pierces through your clothes, or the lack of sunlight that leaves little distinction between night and day. Or maybe it's a combination of both. Either way, the good news is that there is plenty you can do to beat the winter blues.
WHAT CAUSES THE WINTER BLUES?
The winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a common phenomenon that affects many people when the days grow shorter and colder. But what causes this seasonal shift in mood? One key factor is the decrease in sunlight exposure. With fewer daylight hours, our bodies produce less serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. This drop in serotonin levels can lead to feelings of sadness, fatigue, and a general lack of motivation. Additionally, the disruption of our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, can contribute to the winter blues. The reduced sunlight can throw off our body's natural rhythm, leading to sleep disturbances and further exacerbating our low mood. However, there are strategies and treatments available to help combat the winter blues and bring back the sunshine in your life.
5 WAYS TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUEs
1. TRY AROMATHERAPY
Aromatherapy is the holistic healing practice of inhaling aromatic substances such as essentials to reduce stress and anxiety. This is done by inhaling essential oils out of the bottle or by using a humidifier. The oils can also be diluted with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and applied directly to the skin. Alternatively, you can add a few drops to your bathwater.
Meditation is often touted as a remedy for stress and anxiety, but how does it actually work? Research suggests that calming your body and mind causes increased activity in a part of the brain called the left prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain regulates your happiness, so the more it works, the better you feel. Meditation is also known to stimulate the release of a hormone called melatonin, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle. And as we all know, nothing lifts your mood like a good night's sleep
3. Put Your Best Foot Forward
When you look good, you feel good. Taking care of your physical appearance is an easy and fun way to lift your mood. So add a bit of sunshine to your day by soaking in a fragrant bubble bath and applying a lotion that gives you radiant skin.
4. Watch What You Eat
The pleasure of tucking into a greasy meal or a sugary treat is short-lived. While it may give you a temporary energy boost, it will leave you feeling sluggish in the long run. Rather fill your plate with complex carbs such as broccoli, spinach and lentils. These greens take a while to digest, which means they won't cause a rapid increase in your blood sugar, which is known to cause mood swings.
Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day stimulates the release of serotonin, a chemical messenger that helps your brain regulate your mood, sleep and appetite. Examples of moderate exercise include a brisk walk, heavy cleaning and light-effort cycling.
There's no reason for winter to get you down. With a bit of effort, you can make winter feel like summer.