Seasonal Affective Disorder is real. I don’t know if it’s the gray weather, whipping winds and the fact that my skin refuses to hold any moisture – or if I should blame it on the post-holiday letdown that inevitably arises when my family leaves town and it’s back to the grind. Either way, January can be a big bummer.
Fear not! For short, dreary days will not get us down this year. Here are a handful of ways to stay merry and bright until spring…
1. Brighten up.
If at all possible, get your skin some sun exposure immediately upon waking up. Thirty minutes would be ideal – and trust, it totally helps to beat the blahs. If you’re waking up in the dark, try a Vitamin D supplement to boost your mood. I have noticed a big difference when working this into my winter routine. If all else fails, add a few pops of bright and sunny décor (lemon yellow throw pillows anyone?!) to your environment. Every little bit helps!
2. Work it out.
I hate to sweat more than anyone, but there’s no denying that an exercise session stops depression right in its tracks. My favorite way to get it done? Find a yoga guru that you adore on You Tube and you can take care of it right in the comfort of your own home. Then brew up some hot cocoa as a post-namaste treat – the chocolate will enhance your mood and can even curb anxiety. Win!
3. Sleep in a sanctuary.
Step one: cut the clutter. It totally affects your ability to think clearly and I can promise that a pulled-together home (however loose and lived-in) can do wonders for a happier mood. Once that’s done, try to stick to a regular schedule of waking and rising. Too much variance can mess with circadian rhythms and feed into that crabby feeling. Make the small investment in an essential oil like lavender or a pretty pillow spray to help you drift into dreamland as soon as you hit the sheets. Then make your bed as soon as you’re up each day. I love climbing into crisp sheets each night (rather than those that have been balled up all day)!
4. Hop on a happy diet.
I like to order a mid-winter pizza and bake up a storm as much as the next gal – especially when it’s freezing outside. That habit definitely does not do nice things to my attitude, though. I always pay for bad decisions by feeling puffy and guilty – no thank you. This winter, I’m planning my meals around vitamin B (cheese and shellfish), omega-3 (salmon) and complex carbs (whole grains and veggies). I’m really looking forward to avoiding those blood sugar spikes and inevitable crashes.
5. Use your time wisely.
While everyone else is hibernating, I’m going to hone a few new skills. My DIY manicure and at-home facials will be top notch by spring! Others might want to stay energized with daily dance parties, get crafty with knitting or keep their brains sharp with a massive jigsaw puzzle (one of my absolute favorite ways to pass a winter afternoon). All in all, it helps to stay social – friends are the ultimate mood booster and sometimes it helps to snuggle up together instead of bingeing Netflix solo on your couch.
So… how many days are there until spring is here again? I’d love to hear some of your favorite ways to beat the winter blues!