Winter is here! Today is the winter solstice, which signals winter’s official start date and the shortest day of the year. If you are starting to feel the winter blues and know it will only come on stronger post the holiday season, here are some instant healthy mood boosters and ways to conquer the winter blues.
Healthy Foods for an Instant Lift
Chocolate, or cocoa, boosts brain serotonin, so it’s no wonder women crave it before their period when serotonin levels drop. Chocolate also contains a good amount of magnesium which is calming to the mind and body. Be sure to look for high quality dark chocolates that are lower in sugar & made without dairy. Bananas contain dopamine – the ‘reward’ chemical that make us feel fantastic. No wonder it’s such a popular post-workout treat.
Rebound for a Mood Boost
Jumping on a trampoline (indoors, of course) is fun, which in and of itself is mood-boosting, but it’s also great for the lymph and immune systems and can give you an energy lift as well. So jump on when you have energy, and when you need energy too!
Bridge Pose for a Big Uplift
This yoga pose is great for boosting your spirits – it opens your heart center leaving you energized and invigorated. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat, hip distance apart. Lift your hips up and open your chest, interlacing your hands under you. Breathe deeply for 10 breaths or more.
Get Outside for a Daytime Walk
Take advantage of your lunch break and get outside in the middle of the day while the sun is up and it’s real daylight. Go for a walk around the block, take a few deep breaths of fresh air and get some sun!
Nourish Your Insides
Include root vegetables, heartier stews and nourishing broths in your diet in the winter to keep you grounded and warm. Also, try to start your day with a ginger tea to warm up, kick-start digestion and boost immunity.
Move Your Body Every Day
To increase your serotonin levels and release endorphins, commit to 30 minutes of exercise everyday – try a Yoga DVD, bundle up for a brisk walk, invite a friend to Zumba class or simply blast the stereo and dance around the living room.
Let the Light Shine
When sunshine is in short supply, use a light box or full-spectrum light bulbs at home. Full-spectrum bulbs provide benefits ranging from improved mood, better sleep, and enhanced immunity, and they can be found at most hardware stores.
Up Your Omega-3
Fish oils and omega 3 oils play a role in serotonin synthesis so increase your intake of wild salmon, sardines, flax and chia seeds, grass-fed beef and walnuts.
Adding a few supplements during the winter months can help keep your body healthy and your spirits high. Vitamin D levels fall in the winter months so supplementing with 2,000 to 5,000 IU/day is advisable. For mood-boosting support, take 200-400mg of 5-HTP and 400-600mg of Magnesium at bedtime.