Simple ways to lift your spirits this season
Posted on January 29 2020
Few of us spring into winter with the same high spirits we have in summer. As the days get shorter and darker, you might find your mood mimics the change in season, so feeling more tired than usual isn’t rare. If you’re spending your evenings hibernating under a blanket on the sofa, you’re not alone. But there are some simple ways to lift your spirits and get you back on track. Try these three tricks to put a spring back in your step.
Confront the cold
Getting outside in the cold probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list, especially after a long day at work. But honestly, it’s worth taking the plunge and getting out there. It’s a good way to reset and refresh mentally, as well as the benefits sunlight offers up. The amount of light you get during winter can go a long way in elevating your energy levels. If you wake up in the dark, spend your day in a dimly-lit office, then come home after the sun sets, you’re bound to feel sleepy. After all, a lack of sunlight is known for messing with your sleep-wake cycle. Getting out in some sunshine, even if it’s chilly, will help top up your vitamin D levels, which is really important during the darker seasons. This essential vitamin is even harder to come by in winter months, so any chance to recharge should be snapped up.
Do comfort food right
Sometimes all you want after a long, gloomy day is a big bowl of cheesy pasta and a Netflix binge, but a comfort food fix like this probably won’t do your energy levels any favours. Luckily, you can still eat warming, homely meals without going overboard on the carbs and cheese. An easy way to do this is to swap out the usual starch for some winter veg. Try a butternut squash mac n cheese, or a veggie soup. Foods like squash and sweet potato are filling and packed full of nutrients to keep your energy up.
Plus, when winter produce is eaten fresh in season, it’s more nutrient-dense and better tasting because it’s actually matured on the plant, rather than being harvested early. Take advantage of what winter’s got to offer and pick up some seasonal veg to work into your evening meals. You could grab some swede and parsnips for a flavour-packed side of mash instead of the usual white potaotes. Or make the most of wild mushrooms and whip up a creamy soup. Both make for a comforting but nutrient-dense meal.
Give hygge a go
Taking some time out for yourself is even more important at this time of year. This is a big part of hygge (or ‘hue-guh’, as the Danish word is pronounced). This cozy concept is hard to pin down with one word, but can be summed up as a feeling of contentment and wellbeing. It can be found in life’s little everyday moments and enjoyed anywhere and at any time, though it becomes even more relevant during the cold and dreary winters. It means creating a warm and nurturing environment that you feel comfortable in.
So, take time to read a new book (or an old favourite), savour a hot cup of tea, or get together with friends. Switch off from the busy buzz of your work day, put down your phone and enjoy the little things. It’s all about being in the present moment. During the cold winter months, it can be especially important to be kind to yourself and keep up some simple rituals to enjoy. So, when you figure out what works for you, schedule in some downtime so it seems just as important as anything else on your to-do list.
What to remember
If you feel like winter is dragging you down, it’s time to focus on ways to raise your spirits. This means making time for some fresh air, proper nutrition and relaxation. Whether you’re excited to break out your winter jumpers, or are eagerly awaiting the return of spring, caring for yourself properly can make a big difference to your energy over the next few months. Take time out to break up your busy schedule with these simple solutions and you’ll soon be back on track.