Winters can feel like a drag. Some years it can seem like the season is lasting for much longer than just the few months of chilly weather and extra early sunsets. It’s cold, snowy, and we’re trapped indoors all season. With the sunny days of summer feeling like a long lost memory, it’s no wonder that many of us suffer from some form of seasonal affective disorder.
When that feeling of cabin fever kicks in around mid-March, we all start longing for the days of summer more than we did even at the height of the blizzard season. So why does the weather affect our moods so much?
It turns out that there are a lot of reasons for the slump that some folks feel in the colder months. A combination of lower levels of activity, not eating right, increased family obligations around the holidays, and a host of other winter blues-inducing factors play into some of us turning into straight-up Scrooge’s for an entire season (or two).
So what is one to do when you’re missing the sunshine on your back, the breeze warmly blowing through your hair as you drive with the windows down, the vibrantly colored flowers, the lush trees, and the rolling meadows?
These helpful tips might bring you out of your frosty funk and have you visualizing that you’re lounging on a beach, enjoying a margarita, and feeling as carefree as a kid on summer break.
We know, it’s that four-letter word again. No matter how much we try to fight it, exercise is often the cure to what ails us. Increasing blood flow, circulation, releasing endorphins, boosting self-esteem, there’s hardly anything that exercise doesn’t improve.
While it’s difficult during the winter months to even leave the house some days when temperatures are inching close to single digits, it’s usually most important to get moving on these extra gloomy days.
Even if all you can do is a light workout routine at home, that’s still better than nothing. Studies have shown that doing as little as 15 minutes of exercise at a time can improve symptoms of depression and increase reported levels of happiness.
Another one of those four-letter phrases. We all know what kinds of foods we should be eating and what makes us feel groggy and less healthy overall. It’s difficult to get back on the right track after the holiday feasting that we all indulge in. After the third day of eating Thanksgiving leftovers, it feels like a lost cause to even think about going back to the salad days of summer.
After having retired our bathing suits for the season and donning our bulkiest sweaters, it’s pretty easy to think that we don’t have to worry about that third slice of pumpkin pie until the spring.
It may be true that we won’t be seeing sunshine for a few more months and the sweaters will hide the extra holiday treats that we enjoyed, it’s our mental health that suffers in the meantime.
Super sugary, fatty, or fried foods have been proven to increase the likelihood of depression and decreased brain function. So while it may be tempting to worry about your diet come June, your mood will be much improved if you take steps to eat a more balanced diet before summertime hits.
Longing For Nature
Wouldn’t it be nice to take a long walk in the woods or around the nearest lake? We all start to long for nature when we’ve been cooped up for too many months on end.
A bike ride, a hike, gardening, relaxing on the porch with a glass of lemonade on a hot day –– all of these wonderful outdoor activities are what makes summer so magical. The days are longer and it feels like we get to savor each sunset as if it was our first time ever witnessing those stunning last rays of the day.
Bees buzz, birds sing, flowers bloom, the food tastes better, there is a joyousness that comes with summertime. We all feel a pep in our step and a smile is readily available for all who walk by. Why can’t it be like this year-round?
There are a few easy ways to incorporate summer into your winter life. Sunlight simulating lamps that can mimic sunshine to stave off seasonal depression have become popular in recent years.
Another option to make your home feel like it’s got a summery vibe to it is to have fresh flowers or indoor plants. These visuals are mood boosters and bring a reminder of the beauty in nature that is just a few months away.
Adding some summery scents to your essential oil diffuser or diffuser bracelet is another great way to lift your spirits in the winter months. Going with a lemony blend can energize and boost your mood. Lavender calms and relaxes, you won’t even care that it’s winter once you mellow out with some of those sweet lavender scents.
There are a variety of different scents that can affect our mood, mental clarity, and overall sense of well-being. The mind-body connection that is linked to scent is strong and studies have proven that there are intimate interconnections between smells and emotion.
Hopefully these easy tips for getting into a nature and summertime mindset will help you get over the last hump of winter and have you hopping into springtime energized and mentally calmed.