How to Beat the Winter Blues According to Science

How to Beat the Winter Blues According to Science

It’s that time of the year again.  The days are short, getting out of bed sucks and the endless pit called your stomach, is demanding a constant supply of refined carbs & caffeine.  Oh, and if you live in South Africa, throw power outages into the mix along with a bath ban brought on by the drought.

Yep, Winter can really leave some of us feeling less than enthusiastic about life.

Winter blues are a legitimate thing and it apparently has a lot to do with our diminished exposure to light.  According to getscience.com, the lack of daylight can mess with your internal clock and lower serotonin levels leading to a general feeling of irritability and sluggishness.

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to beat the blues and reclaim your perk.

Here are some strategies for you to try if Winter is making you glum:

Embrace the Joys of Winter

Winter brings with it some luxuries that we don’t experience fully when the weather is warmer.  Will hearty soup ever taste as good as it does in Winter?  And what about the sheer joy of curling your hands around a hot cup of coffee or the contentment of getting lost in a good book in front of the crackling fire?  Celebrating these small joys can improve your mood and science agrees.  New research suggests that practicing gratitude regularly, can significantly increase your mental health leading to a more positive mindset.

Keep moving

The last thing most of us want to do this time of year, is exercise.  Heck, even changing into exercise gear is a challenging task.  But switching to hibernation mode completely, won’t do you any favors.  Regular movement can release endorphins that will boost your mood, strengthen your immune system and even curb cravings.  If hardcore exercise or the gym are just not your thing, simply going for a brisk walk regularly can still be beneficial.  Find something that suits you and stick to it.

Load up on Vitamin D

Due to the lack of sunlight in Winter, vitamin D is just the supplement you need to lift your spirits and boost your health.  One of the reasons for this, is that vitamin D stimulates serotonin production in the brain.  2000 IU taken with your largest meal of the day, is the daily recommended dose for adults.  Prevention.com lists 15 healthy foods that are high in vitamin D.

Listen to some tunes

Did you know that music is sometimes banned, along with steroids and stimulant drugs, due to it’s capacity to energize and increase endurance in athletes?   Music is a very powerful tool and can be used effectively to increase happiness both in the short and long term according to research from The University of Missouri.  Bustle.com has compiled a list of 52 songs that will cheer you up and banish the blues.

Brighten up

Opening curtains, trimming back bushes that block light and sitting next to windows can help boost your exposure to sunlight.  Take advantage of every opportunity to soak up some sun as this will help increase your serotonin production.

 

 

 

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