Pop your head outside and you’ll notice that the trees are becoming bare and the sky seems to be permanently 50 shades of grey. This can mean only one thing – winter is coming.
Although winter has its own fun adventures, it's easy to feel low as the warmth and sunny days start to diminish. Waking up is suddenly so much harder, as is finding a reason to get outside or even make your Monday morning lecture. But finding ways to beat the seasonal blues may be easier than you think.
With the season of pumpkin spice lattes, mulled wine and potential snow falls on the way, here are five ways to make room for more happiness in your life during the wintery months.
Living away from home can be tough, so fill your room with your favourite things. Avoid random objects and instead surround yourself with things you feel emotionally connected to. It could be a framed photo of your summer trip with your friends or a bunch of your favourite flowers. Make your room the place where you can walk in after a long day and think ‘I love it here’.
There is no denying that eating well leads to a healthier mind - but even better, recent research has shown that some foods not only work with your brain to make you feel happier, but can also have similar antidepressant effects on the body. Our happy food picks:
Dark Chocolate: This treat is loaded with magnesium, which can aid in reducing stress. Dark Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, the chemical created by the brain when you experience ‘falling in love’. This aids the brain’s release of endorphins - which is probably why you feel happy when eating a choccy bar.
Salmon: Not just a good-looking addition to your brunch pictures, this high in Omega-3 fish has also shown signs of improving focus and reducing depression. Ten packets please.
Avocado: Avocados are jam-packed with vitamins that help your body produce serotonin - the ‘happy’ nervous system neurotransmitter, and they’re also great for keeping your skin, hair and nails healthy. So, not just a mood-boosting fruit, but a beauty-boosting one too.
No uni work, no Instagram, no girlfriends or boyfriends.
Take yourself on a date. Check out that new curry place on the corner or go for a walk in the nearby park and see those deer that everyone has told you about. Don’t wait for someone to ‘go with’. Sometimes it’s nice just to get away from it all, pop in some headphones and spend quality time with you. You’ll love yourself for it.
Simply how you wake up can make a significant impact on how you feel for the rest of the day. In the last couple of years, light-based alarm clocks – with the gentle function of waking you with light, rather than startling sounds – have entered the marketplace and shown results of improving mood and preparing the body for wakefulness.
According to research, light reduces melatonin levels (a hormone that helps us sleep). Used in the right way it can also reinforce alertness and boost our energy. There are many on the market, ranging from around £20 to £200, so say goodbye to waking up on the wrong side of the bed.
Finally, it’s time to consider what really makes you happy and say it out loud. What kind of people, songs, memories, foods, smells, really make you feel good? It may be the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns or the feeling you get when you run early in the morning before the city has even woken up.
Verbalise what you want to see more of in your life. You will consciously, or subconsciously, seek it out more often. Sometimes a ‘happiness reflection’ may be needed so you can really determine what you want to see more of and make it happen.
Although the wintery months can bring us down with grey skies and nose-biting chills, be sure to find time for yourself in the next few months. Curl up with a good book, play your new Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’ and smile... Spring will be here before we know it.
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