All seasons have their ups and downs, but by February, winter can start to feel like it’s dragging on and on—especially if you spend most of your time indoors.
A lot of people experience mood shifts ranging from a “blah” feeling, to a loss of motivation, to extended sadness.
Did you know that staying on top of healthy practices can help you feel more like yourself? Here are a few things you can do to get back to your sunny self, even when the weather isn’t your favorite.
Exercise – but not the way you think
I’m sure you don’t want to hear it, but the best thing you can do for your mood is move. A little exercise can get those feel-good chemicals flowing.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a formal workout, in the traditional sense. To get the effect, you don’t have to go through the song and dance of putting on gym clothes, booking a workout class at a certain time, and showering after. You can get the same benefit from “workout snacks,” or movement during little snips of time, rather than a formal hour-long workout session.
- Do a set of kettlebell swings between meetings
- Do a set of calf raises when you take your dog outside
- Bust out some wall push-ups when you’re in the hallway, waiting for your kid after school
- Get a few deep stretches in while you’re binge-watching your favorite series
Aim for at least 8 workout snacks a day and notice how you feel after three days or so.
Eat more of what your body likes, less of what it doesn’t
With all of the lockdowns, working at home with kids, worrying about our elders getting sick… there’s a good chance you turned to comfort food (and drinks!) more often than you did in the before times.
No shame, we all did it. But with those choices come inflammation, weight gain, and—you guessed it—mood changes.
Now’s a great time to bring back some of the healthy eating practices you might have tiptoed away from over time.
- Have healthy snacks ready. Cut up some veggies and stock your pantry with your favorite jerky and paleo treats. Here are some of our favorites.
- Add, don’t take away. Add a cup of greens to every meal. Finish recipes with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to add some healthy fats that will keep you full.
- Load up on collagen. Swap your morning muffin for some soothing bone broth.
Evaluate your alcohol intake
Alcohol sales went through the roof during the pandemic. We were all dealing with a lot, and while everything was closed, let’s face it—we were bored.
Now, in the last months of winter, we might be falling back on that same remedy for boredom, which can lead to inflammation and feeling bummed for a few days after.
Ready to cut back? A few options:
- Try out a dry month, as a self-exploration thing
- Pre-plan your beverages ahead instead of letting your moods dictate what you’ll drink. (Example: I’ll have one to two drinks at the wedding this weekend.)
The bottom line is, winter blues are real, but your lifestyle absolutely has an effect on how you feel. Big life overhauls almost always backfire, whereas small consistent changes can help you feel like yourself again.
What one step can you take today that your tomorrow self will thank you for?