It’s officially that time of year – the joyful high of the holidays is behind us and spring seems much too far away. I myself have definitely suffered from the “winter blues” before, as I know many of us do when all we see are gray skies.
And you’re not alone! It’s actually incredibly common to experience fatigue, sadness, difficulty concentrating, and a disruption in your sleep schedule during the winter season. For many, these mild blues can be managed, but when left unmanaged, it can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Not to fear! This yearly seasonal dread doesn’t have to dictate your every move. Together, we can choose to support our bodies, minds and souls with simple but effective habits to get out of the winter slump and make this the healthiest, happiest year ahead.
Below are four of my top recommendations for taking control of your situation and kicking those winter blues to the curb!
Note – this post is sponsored by Sierra, and I receive a small commission from items purchased through the links below.
Boost Your Mood With Food
While “comfort foods” like sugary treats, french fries or mac and cheese might seem like they’re just the thing to lift out spirits (they’re called comfort foods for a reason), we all know this isn’t the case in the long run. Instead, I encourage you to utilize food as medicine, especially this time of year!
Fueling your body (& mind) with the right foods is incredibly important, and certain foods in particular are proven to improve brain health and certain mood disorders. Some of the best mood-boosting foods include:
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
- Dark chocolate
- Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables
- Nuts & seeds
- Beans & lentils
We’ve all been told that sunshine is important for vitamin D. But I really encourage you to get out into the sun this time of year especially, as sunlight helps boost serotonin activity, increases melatonin production, regulates your circadian rhythm as well – all of which can lead to an improved emotional state.
Countless studies have shown the positive correlation between nature and mental health. Time spent outside can help reduce symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, headaches and indigestion.
And while, yes, it can be more challenging to get outside this time of year with the weather, committing to even just a short walk around the block can have significant positive impacts.To get started, make sure you have the right gear! Lately I’ve been stocking up at Sierra for all of my outdoor and fitness needs.
Sierra has a great variety of apparel, footwear and gear to help you get active and outside (and at great prices)! They have top brands at low prices, always – 20%-60% less than department and specialty stores, which is a major bonus in my opinion.
Move Your Body
Physical activity has been shown to boost mood, decrease symptoms of depression and reduce stress. Plus, I’ve found that my clients who stick to a consistent exercise regime enjoy the sense of structure and accomplishment it adds to their daily routines.
I recommend incorporating a mixture of strength-training, cardio and low-impact (like yoga and walking) activities into your regime. Find what works best for YOUR body! Even if it’s just 20 minutes a day, this habit pays off for both the body and mind.
Shop my favorite activewear pieces from Sierra below for everything from walking the dog to sneaking in a yoga class – two of my favorite activities to feel my best, especially this time of year.
Shop my Sierra Favorites:
Prioritize Your Sleep Schedule
It’s no surprise that sleep is incredibly important to our overall health. Sleep and our mood are very closely connected in that poor sleep can lead to increased stress, irritability and heightening of mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
With the shorter days and dwindling sunlight, it can be even more challenging to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Plus, we’re not getting as much vitamin D that helps regulate our circadian rhythms and initiate melatonin production, like we touched on above.
To get your sleep habits back on track, I recommend checking out my Sleep Better, Live Better Wellness Workshop. We dive into everything you need to know about creating impactful evening routines and setting yourself up for the best, most consistent sleep schedule.
While these tips might seem obvious, we often neglect the simple activities and routines that make us feel our best. And when the weather isn’t working in our favor, these aspects of our health have to become even more important.
I hope this helps you get started with your own winter wellness routines to make this the happiest, healthiest season yet!