The chilling temperatures, weeks without sun and whipping winds of winter often leave us down in the dumps and wishing for warmer days. But there are simple ways to brighten mood and rev energy levels during the winter that won’t have you waiting until spring to start living. Read on for the easy strategies!
1) Supplement with Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a number of critical roles in our bodies, including maintaining a healthy metabolism, building strong bones and staving off depression. But very few foods contain vitamin D, so as humans we get most of our vitamin D from the sun. That becomes a problem in the winter, when we are spending less time outside and the sun simply isn’t out as much. The fix: take a daily vitamin D supplement. The recommended daily intake for adults is 600 IUs, but it’s almost impossible to take too much vitamin D; some doctors suggest taking as much as 5,000 IUs daily to get the maximum perks.
2) Wear Bright Colors
It may be dark and dreary outside, but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe should reflect it. In fact, studies have shown that the duller the color of your clothes, the drearier you’ll feel. Likewise, clothing that is bright and vibrant can put you in a sunnier, more cheerful mood almost instantly. And not only will you feel better, but the people around you who see your bright, springy attire will feel happier as well. So instead of sticking to grays, blacks and browns, don a yellow sweater, a pink hoodie or a pair of red pants. Spring will arrive before you know it!
3) Enjoy Mood-Boosting Foods
When it comes to winter cooking, we often crave warm stews and hearty roasts. Fortunately, many of the ingredients that go into these dishes are also packed with nutrients that will brighten your day. Butternut and acorn squash are top sources of magnesium, which plays a key role in the production of the mood-boosting hormone dopamine. Red meat contains healthy fats that support healthy brain activity. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and collard greens are packed with fiber to curb appetite, B vitamins to boost energy and iron to maintain steady production of mood-impacting neurotransmitters. Enjoy these roasted, braised or simmered for a heartwarming winter meal.
4) Stay Active
As Legally Blonde taught us, exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy! Staying active, even with something as simple as marching in place in the middle of your living room, is one of the easiest ways to improve mood. Better yet, try heading downstairs to a Power for Life Fitness group fitness class! Getting a sweat on while socializing with friends and neighbors will surely keep your spirits up. Or if you feel like venturing outside, winter-friendly indoor activities like bowling would also do the trick.
Do you have a time-tested strategy for beating the winter blues? We would love to hear about it! Follow us on Instagram @powerforlifefitness and comment on our latest post with your strategy!