The onset of winter, together with the cold and darker days that accompany it, can make us feel a little low.
However, there are many ways to boost our mood when the weather is gloomy. You have only to look to Denmark, where there are long dark winters; yet the Danes are considered some of the happiest people in the world. One of the ways they do it is through a concept called “hygge.” There is no direct translation for it, but it is a sense of coziness and togetherness with others that lifts the spirit.
Here are some ways you can boost your mood whenever you’re feeling a bit down.
- Go for a walk. The combination of fresh air and exercise will help clear your head and make you feel a lot better.
- Make the most of sunlight. One of the reasons why we can feel down in the winter is a deficiency of vitamin D – which we get mostly from sunshine. So try to spend some time outside on bright winter days to obtain some of that vital Vitamin D.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin D. Oily fish, like salmon and tinned tuna, egg yolks and certain mushrooms like Portobello, all contain some vitamin D.
- Listen to upbeat music that makes you want to dance.
- Escape for a few hours with a good book.
- Exercise – the endorphins will improve your mood.
- Eat Brazil nuts – they are the best source of the mineral selenium, which boosts your mood and prevents depression.
- Make sure you get enough rest. Tiredness can make us feel down and also lowers our resistance to colds and bugs.
- Declutter your home. It’s such a good feeling to get rid of things you no longer need, for a more streamlined and organised home.
- Spend time with good friends. Being together with people you care about is a great mood booster.
- Fill your home with beautiful scents. Some, like lemon, lavender and jasmine, are renowned for improving your mood.
- Breathe. Sometimes when we’re feeling stressed, we forget to breathe properly, adding to stress. So pause and take a few deep breaths- in and out.
- Keep moving. If you have to sit down for work, get up every half hour or so and walk around to prevent your body from feeling sluggish.
- Light candles. Brighten up a gloomy evening with some candles that bring light and warmth into your home.
- Bake something delicious. There’s nothing quite like the beautiful aroma of baking.
- Set goals and have things to look forward to.
- Keep hydrated. Even in the winter, it is important to make sure that you drink enough. Being dehydrated can put you into an irritable mood.
- Make sure you eat a nutritious diet. We often turn to junk food in the winter, which tends to be laden with calories and fat, but very little nutritional value. This saps our energy and causes us to put on pounds, which ends up making us feel worse.
- Make fresh soup. A fresh homemade soup can be the ultimate healthy comfort food. A thick soup made from fresh vegetables is packed with vitamins and nutrients.
- Do something good for someone else. There is no better feeling than helping others. You could cook a meal for someone who has just had a baby, call someone who might be feeling lonely, or help an elderly person with her shopping.
- Volunteer. If you have time on your hands, consider volunteering for a charity or community organisation who would welcome the help. Not only will you be giving something back to the community, but it can also be a great way to meet new people.
- Smile. The simple act of smiling can make us feel better. So take a look at yourself in the mirror, and give yourself a big smile. There, don’t you feel better already?
- Take up a new hobby. Try something like photography or dressmaking and enjoy the challenge.
- Spend time with your family and go on a little outing together. It doesn’t have to be somewhere extravagant. It could be trip to the park or a visit to a museum. Just spending quality time together will do you all good.
- Think positively and try to look on the bright side of things. That alone can sometimes change your perspective.
- Have some chocolate. Dark chocolate contains serotonin, which is a mood lifter.
- Do something creative like drawing, writing poetry, or playing music. It doesn’t matter how good you are- just do it for the sheer enjoyment of it.
- Colors can affect our mood. So why not consider doing some redecorating or simply adding some pops of color into your home by way of accessories? Green and yellow can both make you feel happier, while blue adds a feeling of calm.
- Reduce your schedule. Sometimes when we take on too much, we feel overwhelmed and fatigued. If this is the case, try to simplify your day wherever possible.
- Research has shown that plants can reduce feelings of stress and make us feel more relaxed, so bring the outside in by having plants around your home.
Written By: Sara Ansbacher