Winter days can just crawl by leaving us feeling depressed and lacking energy and it may not be all in our heads. Studies have shown that many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, known as SAD, which is caused by a lack of sunlight. The symptoms include depression, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy and more.
According to MayoClinic.com, ďA drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in seasonal affective disorder. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin, perhaps leading to depression.Ē Whether you suffer from SAD or youíve just got plain old cabin fever, here are three simple things you can do to lift your mood.
Get Out During the Day
While winter days are shorter, still many miss out on the sunlight we do have. Open the shades and give yourself an excuse to get out. Walk the dog, play with the kids in the snow, or get out for a cup of coffee. Iím using this excuse today, hanging out at Panera Bread, with my Caramel Latte by my side and taking advantage of the free wireless. Even though I try not to leave the warmth of my home from December to March, sometimes you need a change to feel inspired. A tasty treat can help lure you to get out and about.
Spice Up Your Life
Daily rituals are comforting, but spicing up your routine can give you renewed energy. In the winter we tend to be more sedentary and less adventurous, as though we are in hibernation. Trying a new coffee, creamer, or even a new coffee maker like the French Press or Keurig can lift your mood and help you to feel excited about getting up in the morning.
One of my current favorite coffees is Kirkland Signature House Blend, whole beans roasted by Starbucks. Iíve had a lot of coffee in my time, but this one really stands out. Anyone who comes within smelling distance will want some, even non-coffee drinkers. Iíve been drinking it for a while now and still, I am enjoying the taste every morning, as though it were my first time. Delicious coffee helps me to be present, elevates my mood and warms me up, which is a never-ending quest for me in the winter.
Winter is also the perfect time to try a new exercise routine. This is a great way to combat the winter blues because the endorphins released during exercise promote a feeling of well-being. My morning cup actually helped me to establish a regular Tai Chi practice.
So get out from under the covers early and enjoy the sun as soon as it comes up, spice up your life with something new and exercise. Before you know it, spring will be here and youíll feel like the winter has just flown by.