Winter is here! Decreased daylight hours encourages us to take time to rest before spring returns. Many people also report a drop in spirits during this time of year. Below are some lifestyle tips to make this winter your best one yet.
Traditional Chinese medicine encourages the consumption of cooked foods in the winter as they are easier to digest. In addition, eating warming spices such as ginger and cinnamon help to warm the body.
The research is in, meditation and other mindfulness practices improve mood and performance through improving self-awareness, attention and emotional control. Consider trying a class or using a free app.
Spending time in nature promotes parasympathetic activity, reducing anxiety, fatigue, depression, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Exercise improves anxiety, stress, and depression. These effects are from changes to neurotransmitters in the brain, hormonal regulation and an increase in endorphins. Exercise also reduces inflammation through numerous biochemical pathways.
Morning exposure to light that contains short blue wavelengths decreases the brain’s production of melatonin, making us feel more alert. Exposure to light during the day and darkness at night helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, the natural fluctuations of hormones throughout the day. Furthermore, light exposure is linked to increased serotonin production, one of the hormones that tends to decrease in depression. Using a full spectrum light in the morning may help to improve your mood and sleep.
Time with loved ones
Make time to spend time with those you care about. Make dinner with your family, have tea with a friend, call an old friend, or write a letter to a family member you haven’t seen in a while.
Hygge is a Danish word that does not have a direct English translation. It refers to the practice of creating a feeling of warmth, peace and happiness. The options are endless but here are some places to start.
- Make your living space a little cozier with a favorite blanket, candle and photos of loved ones or favorite memories.
- Make time to share a special treat with someone you love. Bonus points if you make it from scratch together.
- Give yourself the night off to enjoy any way you choose.