7 Surefire Ways to Beat the Winter Blues!
Well the holidays are certainly over, and we’re already deep into February! We’re in the middle of that dreaded (for some) winter grind. Unless you have the luxury of a couple weeks of vacation planned in the Bahamas or are an avid winter sports fan, this time of the year can feel like somewhat of a drudgery.
It's a tough time of the year. Perhaps the strength of your "motivated mindset" when planning your 2018 New Year's Intentions is starting to subside, or a little bit of seasonal depression is setting in while you wait for some warmer weather. In Calgary especially, winter can seem to drone on simply due to the fact that the climate is so dry, your lips and skin can barely take it anymore!
If you’re resonating with any of these feelings, it’s time for a pick-me-up. What can you do to gain back energy, feel healthier, win back that once-there-motivation and kick the winter blues until we round the corner to spring?!
Here are 10 things you can do right now to make you feel better in just a few days time!
Start everyday with warm lemon water. I buy 3 lemons per week and squeeze half of one into about 500 mL of warm water first thing in the morning. I’ll drink this while I do my makeup for work.
Benefits: Immunity boost for flu season, major Vitamin C dose, increased mood and kick starts digestion.
- Make a commitment to drink more water. Set a goal of at least 2 litres a day. In the winter I find it challenging to drink cold water. Adding flavours such as mint, lemon or other fruit-infusions really helps, and often I drink it room-temperature or warm.
Benefits: Drastically improves energy levels and brain function.
- Turn down the hot water in your shower! This is a hard one but hot water really aids in drying out your skin. If you can hack the “alternating temperature method” (warm for a minute/cold for a minute etc.) good on you! If not, turn down the temp as much as your body will allow. Even just finishing with a blast of cold water is TOUGH as hell at the time, but I swear when I do this, I feel 100x more invigorated and my mood gets a blast of energy.
- Get serious about moisturizing. It’s easy to get lazy and neglect applying lotion to your body after the shower. Don’t skip it! - especially in the winter. Find a good moisturizer and use it everyday, especially after every shower. In Calgary, if I skip this for even a day, my skin starts resembling that of a rattlesnake...and it’s not cute.
- For my neck and face I pay extra attention and am not afraid to use heavy oils. I love the JOSIE MARAN 100% Pure Argan Oil. I let that soak in and follow it with a heavy moisturizer. Right now I’m using (and loving) her Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter. Another great oil is the SEABERRY Face Oil by Fresh. It’s just a touch lighter and absorbs quickly. Using face oils provides a really nice canvas for my makeup. It's one of my top tips for achieving a natural and fresh glow that lasts throughout the entire day.
Benefits: Beautiful glowing skin, and believe it or not, barrier protection. In the winter your skin is dry and stiff which makes it more susceptible to infection or outbreaks.
2. PURCHASE A HUMIDIFIER, A DIFFUSER, AND ESSENTIAL OILS
- The air outside is dry enough! There’s no reason your house needs to be too. I bought a small humidifier for $30 bucks and it hydrates the air in my room perfectly. I try to make sure I’m at least sleeping in a hydrated environment.
Benefits: Improved sleep due to moisturized throats and sinuses, reduces risk of airborne viruses and locks in the beautiful moisturized glow of your skin.
- Essential Oils are extremely beneficial in improving your mood and creating a wonderful, refreshing and positive house environment while indoors. Some of the best ones for seasonal depression are: Citrus oils, Bergamot, Floral scents, Ylang Ylang and Lavender. Do some research and create your own blends!
3. PLAN FOR/SCHEDULE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
- Look at your schedule for the next few months and see where you can find time to plan for something to really look forward to. This can be big - like a 5-7 day trip with a girlfriend to a hot destination, or small - like 3 separate coffee or meal dates with those positive people in your life you have been meaning to hang out with for a while or perhaps want to get to know better! Schedule it in, call them, and make it happen.
- Something that makes me happy is planning dinner parties for close friends. I set a time and date, invite my people, and plan out a nice appy and dinner night.
Benefits: Increased happiness from both providing an act of kindness for others and building/strengthening bonds with friends.
4. CLEAN AND DECLUTTER
- Plan a day on the weekend where you will do a full declutter of your room, closet, and kitchen pantries. If you know you have a lot of clutter to get through, break it up and do a couple of tasks during the week. Finish it off with a full deep clean and washing of your bed sheets. I have a tumblr full of dried lavender leaves that I throw in the dryer with my sheets and let me tell you, there’s nothing better than the feeling of freshly washed and dried sheets lightly scented with calming lavender fragrances!
Benefit: Provides an added opportunity to get rid of the junk in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Don’t let the sugar blues contribute to the winter blues. Go shopping for some fresh produce and ingredients!
- Usually when I’ve mastered a full spring clean and am feeling fresh and rejuvenated I’ll go out and treat myself to a new outfit. After all, my closet feels a lot emptier when I’m through!
Benefit: Reduce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety by clearing out and cleaning your space. When your space feels fresh, light and positive, so does your mood.
5. STAY ACTIVE - DON’T LET YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE FALL AWAY
- Ensure you know exactly how you will fit in your workouts throughout the next couple of months. If you need to purchase a new fitness plan to motivate you, then do it! I always find it easier to maintain my routine when I know exactly what I am doing every day for activity. A couple of hours of planning now will save you so much time in the future scrambling through youtube videos trying to find a routine every day before each gym sesh!
- Go outside! Plan to get outside for a walk or two a week. The fresh air will boost your endorphins. One great thing we have in our city is constant sunshine throughout the entire winter. Taking advantage of that Vitamin D can make a huge difference in the way you feel during the week.
Benefits: Everyone knows that exercise improves mood and reduces anxiety. If I do nothing else from this list, maintaining my exercise routines alone will keep me feeling positive and good about myself all winter long!
6. TAKE VITAMINS, PROBIOTICS AND 5HTP
- I notice an enormous difference in the consistency of my mood when I take my vitamins and probiotics everyday. If you’re unsure of where to start, the ones my naturopath prescribed to me are: Vitamin D in drip form (better concentration and absorption into the body), a good Vitamin B complex, Fish oil, and Probiotics.
Benefits: Vitamin D - The sunshine vitamin! Aids in the absorption of calcium, boosts weight loss by suppressing appetite, and reduces depression.
Vitamin B Complex - Healthy skin, hair nails, faster healing, reduces signs of ageing, and boosts energy!
Fish Oil - Omega-3-Fatty-Acids - Prevents diseases, cancers, ADHD, and depression, and is also great for healthy skin and hair!
- Let’s talk about 5-HTP. A lot of people turn to giving this supplement a try before making the choice to take prescription meds for anxiety or depression. It increases your serotonin levels which helps you fight off bad moods, headaches, symptoms of depression, and can help you sleep better. 5-HTP is available over-the-counter at your natural community health store but be sure to do your own research and discuss this option with your doctor first. It is not recommended to mix with any prescription anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications.
- I take 5-HTP through the winter months and personally find a big difference in my afternoon moods at work. I take one capsule in the morning and one at around 1:00 PM and truly notice a mood boosting pick-me-up to help me carry out my afternoon work schedule and workout.
Benefits: simply put, an essential amino acid mood booster.
7. DESIGN A MORNING ROUTINE
- Deciding to create a small routine in your life can help you gain back some control over the way you currently feel. It’s also creative, because you get to design this chunk of time in the morning to fit especially you. Forming a few good habits every morning really sets up the rest of your day for feeling positive and being more effective and successful. Your routine doesn’t have to be elaborate and long. Some people may choose to spend 5 minutes on meditating for the upcoming day, or simple feeling gratitude. Others may incorporate a gym session followed by a full breakfast and time to journal. Sit down for a few minutes and write down a list of what you wish to commit to in the morning for the next couple of months. Guaranteed once you’ve formed the habit, you won’t want to stop just after winter passes us!
Benefits: Increases productivity, provides a sense of control, sets the tone for the rest of your day, allows for you to be creative, and imparts many positive effects from habit-forming which helps you to reach goals.