How to improve your mood during the Big Dark
It’s wintertime. You probably notice that it’s harder to get out of bed in the morning, you feel more stressed out than usual, and you’re often fatigued. Don’t worry, though — all of these symptoms are more common during the colder months. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to help improve your spirit. Here are six ways to boost your mood in the winter:
1. Eat nutritious foods
Certain foods can help enhance your mood. Chocolate, for instance, can help to relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy and refined carbohydrates, only provide temporary feelings of euphoria but increase anxiety and depression in the long run. Try to avoid these foods and instead focus on whole foods and grains, like lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and complex carbs.
2. Buy a lightbox
Lightboxes, otherwise known as artificial light, mimic the sun’s natural rays, helping to ease depressive and seasonal affective disorder symptoms. Research shows that sitting in front of a lightbox for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressants. You can also get extra sunshine by sitting closer to windows.
3. Exercise regularly
Walking for at least a half hour per day five times a week or for an hour per day three times a week improves symptoms of mild to moderate depression. And, if you can exercise under bright lights, that’s even better for managing symptoms of seasonal depression.
4. Invest in a dawn simulator
If you notice that you have a hard time waking up in the morning when it’s still dark outside, you might benefit from a dawn simulator. It causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period, making it easier to get out of bed.
5. Get outside more
While it might not sound fun to take a walk outside in the cold, the benefits are significant — spending time outdoors can improve focus, reduce depression, and lower stress levels. So be sure to go outside whenever you get a chance!
6. Listen to upbeat music
According to several studies, listening to cheerful, upbeat music can positively affect your mood, increasing your happiness levels. Allow yourself to enjoy the experience of listening to music while you’re exercising or commuting to work, for instance.
Look on the bright side
Winter can be brutal. But it doesn’t have to put a damper on your mood. You can combat the winter blues by getting outside more often, investing in a therapeutic light box, and scheduling activities regularly that you enjoy.