Rather than succumbing to those grey days, boost your mood with these oh-so-important self-care tips that feel a little extra necessary this time of year…
With the holiday decorations packed away, reality back in full swing and a slew of daunting resolutions you may have yet to tackle, January can feel like one tough month. Then comes February, the shortest yet somehow longest month of the year. Days are dark, nights seem long, and the weather is frigid and unforgiving. That melancholy you may feel looming over the winter months is totally normal – it’s hard to feel cheery when the sun sets at 4pm. But rather than succumbing to those grey days, boost your mood with these oh-so-important self-care tips that feel a little extra necessary this time of year…
Make a plan.
Once the cheer and camaraderie of the holidays are over, it may seem like there’s nothing but a long, dark winter ahead of you. With the next holiday feeling far away and summer a figment of your imagination, the first weeks of the new year can leave you more emotionally vulnerable than usual. Reignite your fire by making plans – that healthy sense of anticipation can help keep you focused, energized and excited about life. Organize a monthly happy hour with your girls. Plan a weekend road trip. Buy concert tickets for a later date. These little things will keep you going on those days you need something to look forward to.
Food for your mood.
Feeling sluggish after overindulgence is normal and to be expected, but if you continue to give into cravings of carbs and sweets long past the holidays you may notice an effect on your overall mood. Combat this by making sure you balance meals with fat, protein, fiber and greens! This will keep blood sugar levels stabilized and prevent those intense cravings. On the go? Try drinking your greens for a quick pick me up that pairs perfectly with your favorite protein bar.
Set an (attainable) goal.
While running a marathon might be unrealistic (or maybe not – good for you!), setting small, attainable goals can help you feel productive. Keep them simple – try out a new recipe once a week, pop into that new bookstore you’ve been wanting to check out, or sign up for a boxing class. Make short lists of things that you know you can accomplish. You’ll gain satisfaction without a series of daunting tasks looming overhead if you decide to take a night off. Ditch the harsh resolutions and allow yourself to feel good about achieving even small things.
Embrace the season.
The holiday season often seems to come and go too quickly to feel like you’ve done all of the things you were “supposed” to do. But, good news! Many activities we associate with the holidays don’t have to be exclusive to the month of December. Burning pine scented candles, sipping peppermint mochas or making a fool of yourself on ice skates are all experiences that can extend all throughout winter. Take the chance to embrace the things that give winter that little bit of magic.
It can be so easy to blame the cold weather, your depleted bank account or your refusal to get sick for reasons to stay inside, but maintaining social relationships is crucial to brightening your mood. Say yes to a weekend ski trip or an after work spin class, even if you’re inclined to spend that time doing anything else. If you really can’t bring yourself to leave the house, invite a friend over face masks and a Netflix binge. Laying low with someone to laugh with is sometimes all you need to lift your spirits.
Recognize what you need.
While seasonal mood changes that affect the way we think and feel are fleeting, Seasonal Affective Disorder (nicknamed S.A.D., rightfully so) is thought to be the product of a biological shift that occurs in the winter months. Fewer hours of sunlight resulting in a disruption in your circadian rhythm and a lack of Vitamin D are thought to be to blame. Light therapy (see: Broad City’s Ilana) or talking it out with a professional could be helpful if you feel your sadness is more than a case of the winter blues. Needing a little help to lift your mood is normal, helpful and way healthier than getting stuck in a downward spiral.
New year, same you.
Remember – you don’t need to change anything about yourself. You are loved, beautiful, strong, HUMAN. We are made to feel across a spectrum and not all days will be good days. Getting back into the swing of things can be challenging, but by taking the new year one day at a time and staying mindful in our daily practices, we can embrace everything this season has to offer.
+ What helps you stay positive during the winter months? Share your tips in the comments!