‘Tis the season for all things jolly and joyful, but some days I feel like the winter blues send my smiles into ho-hum hibernation. It's not uncommon to catch a case of the blues during the winter months. In fact, 10-20 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal depression or mood changes. Rather than letting your low mood settle in for the season, usher in some winter bliss! Here are seven tips that I've found help to lift my spirits during winter.
1. Let There Be Light: Light therapy (in which you expose yourself to light) is the most effective treatment in severe cases of winter blues, also known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Consider ways to increase your everyday exposure to light: Draw back those curtains, take a stroll outside and try to spend your time in rooms with lots of natural light.
2. Drink Your Vitamin D: Less sunlight means less vitamin D, a lack of which has been linked to depression and lethargy. Not that you needed an excuse to make eggnog, but egg yolks will supply you with that missing vitamin D. Here's a recipe that calls for 12 yolks (consider nixing the booze though, which can worsen your mood short- and long-term).
For a daily dose of D, consider a tablespoon of cod liver oil, which will provide 340 percent of your daily value, or down a daily glass of D-fortified milk or orange juice.
3. Go Nuts: Nuts, such as peanuts and almonds, are good sources of tyrosine, which is one of the building blocks for dopamine and other mood-related neurotransmitters. Having them as a snack can keep you from feeling hungry (and therefore cranky) between meals and may improve your mood.
4. Incorporate Happy Colors: Studies show that colors affect our mood. Two colors that will bust your blues are orange, an anti-depressive color that only has positive effects on mood, and yellow, which improves mood, energizes and encourages optimism. Consider adding these colors in rooms you spend lots of time in by painting the walls a cheery yellow or decorating with pops of orange.
5. Surround Yourself With Happy Scents: Citrus scents have been shown to improve mood and reduce stress. Pick up some citrus-scented candles or try this easy DIY orange peel potpourri. Bonus: Both can also serve as decorative accents of orange!
6. Get Grooving: For me, one of the best ways to beat the blues is through music. Listening to music you like improves your mood -- as does dancing or singing along! My favorite winter-blues buster? Getting my inner-diva on in a hot shower.
7. Phone a Friend: Anytime I'm down, talking to friend whips me into a better mood. Better yet, call someone who you haven't spoken to in a while. Their surprise and excitement to hear your voice alone will lift your spirits.
Beatrice Strnadis a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a health and beauty enthusiast, devout foodie and tea-drinker.
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