In the cold, dark months of winter, it can be tempting to hunker down and cozy up inside and wait for the sunny days of spring to return. For some, the season can be really mood-altering: from feeling a touch of the winter blues to the much more pernicious seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Add in the stress of the festive seasons and this makes it a really good idea to keep your mental wellbeing in focus during the season. Business Optimizer takes a look at the tips that will help you banish those winter blue and boost your happiness ready for a great start to the new year.
#1. Get plenty of sunlight
Natural light boosts serotonin, an important natural mood enhancer. Try to get outside during the daylight hours. For extra help, you could try a light therapy lamp.
#2. Schedule time for regular exercise
We know that mental and physical wellbeing are closely linked. The endorphins that are released through exercise help to keep your mood uplifted.
#3. Eat well
Eating well is important for two reasons. First, a good diet helps your brain and bodywork efficiently. Second, making healthy choices can help with self-esteem and make you feel emotionally stronger.
#4. Practice mindfulness
Being consciously in the present is shown to help stave off anxiety and stress. If you fancy giving mindfulness meditation a try, you can start with one of the guided recordings by Dr. Ronald Siegel, an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.
#5. Try journaling
Research has shown that writing a journal can help lower depression and anxiety, as well as delivering important health benefits – such as a lower heart rate, higher heart rate variability, and strengthening of T-lymphocytes immune cells.
#6. Spend time in nature
As well as helping you to boost your time in natural daylight, getting out into nature is a good idea in its own right. Forest bathing, for example, has been shown to relax us and return us to a mindset where we can better focus, think deeply, and come up with new and creative ideas.
Taking Vitamin D supplements or making a conscious effort to eat Vitamin-D-rich foods during the winter months could be a good idea, especially if you aren’t sure you’re getting enough time outside in natural light. Steve Jones, a professor of genetics at University College London, says vitamin D “can help tackle infectious disease, it changes mood, if you have a shortage you’re more likely to get kidney disease … it is really, really important stuff. The evidence that the shortage of sunlight has drastic effects on health is overwhelming”.
As well as receiving the benefits of support from people who love and care for you, the act of smiling itself can make you happier. Numerous studies have shown that Science smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.