How to keep your mind and body happy during Winter by Jess Blair
She is a Clinical Nutritionist, Naturopath, Public Speaker and Author of our gorgeous book in store "Wellness by Blair"
There are people who enjoy the winter and then others that just want to be Summer all year round!
It is true that winter comes with some downsides like vitamin D deficiency, and chapped lips and maybe more frequent colds, however like every season there is some beautiful upsides including trips to the snow, beautiful winter vegetables and more time inside with loved ones!
Research has shown that there are effective strategies that propitiously adjust the brain’s chemicals that are most essential for happiness, including oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.
These are my top methods you can take to keep your mind and body happy during winter.
It is important to make sure you eat with the Seasons this is something that is really important to me in my philosophy around food.
Think of beautiful vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery cucumber, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkins and fruits such as kiwifruits, lemons and limes, and oranges which are full of Vitamin C!
My philosophy around food still is about eating variety of foods in a variety of colours and with the seasons as these are fresher, more nutrient dense and cheaper.
Another way healthy eating helps boost your mood during winter is by boosting your fibre levels, which serves as an added advantage for your gut and the bacteria in it. Research has shown that the brain chemicals can be altered by the intestinal bacteria, which in turn affects your mood.
Find innovative ways for exercise
Exercise has been proven to be a great mood booster, no matter the season.
It is customary to want to take the easy way out during the winter and skip your workout sessions, sometimes the cold mornings and evenings makes us want to stay in bed a little longer!
During Winter, it is important to keep movement part of your day, even if that’s a trip to the park with the kids, or a nice walk in nature to get the endorphins going and also nature is a great way of combating stress levels!
My favourite exercise during Winter is walks with the family and also Pilates! Great for strength, mobility and also its restorative so helps reduce unwanted stress!
In all you do during the winter, ensure that you avoid isolation. It is normal to feel like snuggling into your bed and not make contact with anyone, however connection is important for our mood and also our health!
If you feel the need to hibernate during Winter, that is totally fine, I find I do less social activities during Winter but I make sure I still stay connected to my friends and love ones!
Winter sports is also a great way to stay connected in the community.
You can also boost the balance of happiness chemicals in your brain by engaging in altruistic activities. You could opt to sign up for some volunteering work with a set of people.
Get sunshine and Warm baths
Studies have shown that our mood is improved when we actively get more sunshine and light. Light therapy is often prescribed to people who have a seasonal affective disorder. They are placed underneath lights that simulate the natural rays of the sun.
It is a well-known fact that your body is compelled to produce vitamin D when you are in the sun. Making sure you are still getting outside during Winter even for half an hour this will improve your mood and also get you the Vitamin D you need. Sunshine also helps regulate your sleep cycles, so make sure you are getting that Winter Sun in!
I love Warm Baths so having a nice Warm bath in winter with some Epsom salts will help your sleeping patterns as well as help your sore muscles!
Research has shown that our productivity increases when we are happier. I’m sure you are not aware that it also goes the other way. When you are more productive, your mood tends to improve, which leads to a better outlook.
You can recall the last major project you completed. It could be staining the deck, sorting out your paperwork, replying to all the messages in your inbox, or cleaning out your closet. It doesn’t matter the task, just focus on the satisfaction and joy you derived from completing it. It is indisputable that you felt excited and happy upon completion of your project.
So, a great way you can stay happy during the winter season is to take up a new project and finish it
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big one; you can decide to finish an already started project or learn something new. In addition to suppressing the winter blues, finishing your project will a massive mood boost that could last till springtime.
You could also try reading books as this would help boost your cognitive function during winter, and there is also a joy that comes with completing a novel.
Do Something every day that you love!
One very inevitable topic right now is self-care. You need to take good care of yourself, particularly if you are one that often gives to others. There are a lot of ways you can improve your physical and mental health.
Try spending time doing things that make you feel ecstatic, engage in your favourite hobbies. This would help relax your body and mind, reduce stress, and leave you in a happier state.
I love going for walks, listening to my favourite podcasts, I love reading so often in Winter I read more and spend time inside with the kids that we can do as a family!