It's wintertime. You probably notice that it's harder to get out of bed in the morning, you feel stressed out, and you're fatigued. Don't worry, though. There's a lot you can do to help improve your spirit. Here are six ways to boost your mood in the winter:

Eat better

1. Eat better

Certain foods can help enhance your mood. Chocolate, for instance, can help to relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy and carbohydrates, only provide temporary feelings of euphoria but increase anxiety and depression. You should avoid those foods at all costs.

2. Buy a light box

2. Buy a light box

Light boxes, otherwise known as artificial light, mimic the sun's natural rays, helping to ease depressive symptoms. Research has shown that sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressants. You can also get an extra dose of sunshine by sitting closer to windows.

3. Exercise more

3. Exercise more

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 seasonal depression.

4. Invest in a dawn simulator

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

5. Get outside more

While it might not sound like fun taking a walk outside in the cold, the benefits are significant -- spending time outdoors can improve focus, reduce depression, and lower stress levels.

6. Listen to upbeat music

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.

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.

References
  1. "8 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Beat the Winter Blues," Real Simple, n.d.
  2. "7 Ways to Improve Your mood in Fall and Winter," Bustle, September 18, 2015.
  3. "Beating the Winter's Woes," WebMD, n.d.

winter | mental health | wellness | health