The groundhog said…6 more weeks of winter. Boo! Between the snow, rain, frigid temps, dark days and all-around busy lifestyle, that’s a recipe for a total rundown.
The short days of winter play a role in your body’s production of serotonin and melatonin in the brain, two factors that powerfully influence your mood and mojo. Use these five techniques to find your winter energy.
1 Turn Off Your SFF
Self-Fulfilling Funk! People with seasonal mood changes tend to have a lot of negative anticipatory thoughts before the season begins, as well as throughout.
Here’s the deal, if you expect to feel bad, chances are you will. To stop this habit of SFF, tell yourself a more helpful story.
If you tend to say, “I hate winter,” replace that mind loop. Make it positive but realistic.
- I can get through winter; I’ve done it before.
- The weather affects my mood, but so do other factors, like what I do with my time.
- During winter, I can focus on projects I tend to put off in warmer months, when I just want to be outside.
2 Rethink Comfort Food
Too tired to make dinner? Food deliveries tend to spike in colder months. Whether you have the pizza deliver guy on speed dial or your go-to dinner is mac and cheese, most typical comfort foods zap our energy. Simple carbs, like foods made with white flour (pasta, pizza), break down fast so you feel a quick boost followed by an even quicker crash. Choose fiber-rich grains instead and lots of protein, like black bean soup, quinoa bowls, and oatmeal are some balancing options.
3 Just Move
If slump is your symptom, movement is the cure. Consistent low-intensity exercise decreases people’s fatigue by 65%. A slow jog, jumping jacks, a few pushups or plank pose – it all works.
4 Winterize Your Summer Fun
Once you give in to the winter blues and start hibernating, it’s difficult to dig yourself out. Push hard to be more like your summer self. Find ways to incorporate the things you enjoy doing in the summer. If you have a green thumb, start a windowsill herb garden. Love to hike? Consider indoor rock climbing or put on snowshoes and take a walk. Add yaktracks to your shoes to get the traction you need to jog outside!
5 Try Tea
Drinking tons of caffeine can make you feel “slothlike.” Cut back and turn to caffeinated tea for more lasting energy. Studies show coffee may have a more noticeable energy spike and dip (that’s the crash you feel) than tea.
These tips will keep you going strong – dark, cold weather be darned.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods