How to Beat the Winter Blues Naturally
1.Get Enough Sunlight
Like a cat ready to pounce be ready to make the most of any rays you can get at this time of year. This means that whenever the sun is out and you’re able to stand in it, it’s really important to do so. Think sun-basking during lunchtime, or an afternoon walk. Playing with your kids in it, or combining workout time with fun in the sun. If you work at home, take advantage and strip down as much as you can to get those beautiful rays covering as much of your body as you can. Exposing yourself to the sun whenever possible during the winter months is what helps boost your Vit D and serotonin levels naturally.
Good to know: Your body needs about 20-30mins, three times a week without sunscreen to get the Vit D it needs to help keep you happy.
Pro-tip: Whenever possible schedule in a couple of sun-break getaways during this time. Even if it’s just for a few hours, knowing that there’s “sun” coming up on the calendar can be enough to keep you going.
For example, I live in a city that stays in deep fog and heavy cloud for weeks at a time. But I know that only an hour away it’s possible to get above the fog-line and bask in the sun for a day – so I “schedule” to do this whenever I can!
I know that when Jack Frost’s nipping at your nose, the last thing you want to do is get outside and exercise. The good news is: you don’t have to!
Give yourself permission to get your sweat on at home.
The point is to be moving – doing it regularly and vigorously enough to bring on a sweat. Exercising like this is a natural antidepressant, increasing your serotonin and endorphin levels, which both boost your mood.
Good to know: A vigorous workout needs to be no longer than 15-20mins, 3 times a week, to release the happy hormones that make us feel SO good!
Pro-tip: Doing it first thing in the morning means you’ve already got a “win” under your belt, which really means a double-win – a happy dance from the exercise and from knowing you’ve already accomplished something in your day!
3.Get Consistent Sleep
It’s hard to be happy if you’re feeling weary and bleary-eyed. No matter the time of year, it’s important to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
But here’s the kicker: to feel refreshed, particularly at this time of year, it needs to be consistent and regular sleep. This means going to bed and waking up around the same time on weekdays AND weekends. When we don’t do this, we knock our internal body clock out of whack, making us feel groggy and irritable.
Pro-tip: set yourself up with a soothing night-time routine, one that has you winding down at a certain time each night, depending on when you have to get up in the morning. Light candles, turn-off devices and use this time for a relaxing bath or listening to a guided meditation.
4.Food Therapy:Eating Clean and Nutritionally Dense
I know. It’s miserable outside and we think that second helping of mac n’cheese or hot chocolate is all we need to feel good again.
Good news: there’s definitely room for homemade hot chocolate! Just make sure it’s made using real non-dutched, natural cocoa powder. High in mood-boosting flavonoids, it’s a great treat to look forward to and enjoy at night as part of your wind-down routine.
It’s particularly important at this time of year to eat cleanly and nutritionally dense because that’s what helps to balance our mood, feel less tired and irritable and beat the winter blues naturally.
Pro-tip: Think foods that naturally contain high levels of Vit D such as mushrooms! Plus dark-leafy greens, fish, and grass-fed meats for protein and omega 3’s.
Think you’re not getting enough Omega 3’s in your diet? Check out our easy to take Juice Plus Omega Blend supplement:
5.Soothing Essential Oils
Oils are a great way to uplift your mood, reduce anxiety and instill feelings of hope and motivation.
Pro-tip: The top 5 essential oils to use in a diffuser or add to a bath for beating the Winter Blues are:
Taking care of our mindset is important 24/7, but particularly at this time of year. Be mindful of what you’re listening to and create uplifting and energizing playlists or pop on an inspiring podcast or audiobook on your way to work or around home.
7.Queue Up the Funnies!
Yep, a binge or two on Netflix is allowed! Nothing quite beats the blues like a laugh-out-loud movie. We know that laughter stimulates processes in your brain that counter depressive symptoms – so queue up your fav comedies and enjoy guilt-free!
At this time of year, it can feel easier to simply stay at home and tuck yourself in for the night… after night, after night. But making and keeping appointments with friends and family will help you feel less isolated and the hugs and laughs you can have are oh so worth it for your emotional and mental health.
9.Get Even Cozier
I know I said earlier that the novelty of cozy nights in is probably wearing off, but !
It’s fascinating that the Scandinavians who have the some of the longest winters, do not think of winter as something to be endured. In fact, they embrace it by making it as cozy as possible and even have a word for it: hygge (pronounced hooga).
By simply deciding to change your thoughts around this time of year, you can make your days easier by actively choosing to embrace the weather more and resist it less.
10.Ramp Up the Fresh
Sometimes the simplest things are the best. Stuffy living spaces are energy zappers, so rather than leaving it until you start yawning, be sure to throw open those windows every hour or so (put a timer on) wherever you can.
Sleeping with your bedroom window ajar will also enhance your sleep and help you wake feeling more refreshed!