Food For Thought

A man and a woman getting exercise in winter weather

Beat the Winter Blues: A Healthy Lifestyle for a Healthy Mood

Kate Glover, 03/12/2015

The good news is March has arrived and spring is just around the corner. However, many of us may still be in a winter slump. With short, cold, dark days, it’s easy to feel a bit bogged down by the winter blues. Here are some tips to help elevate your mood!

Get more exposure to sunlight. For many of us, winter means months without sun; the sun is shining when we’re at work and has already begun to set on the drive home. We spend our free time inside to keep warm. Yet sunlight is essential for maintaining our body’s internal clock. Normally, the brightness of sun exposure in the morning turns off melatonin production (what induces sleep) and triggers serotonin production (what keeps you alert and feeling good). Because many of us are missing the natural light we need in the morning, our day-night rhythm is thrown off. Our bodies continue to secrete melatonin, which leaves many of us feeling tired throughout the day. Brave the cold to stand in the sun for a few minutes each morning. The light on your face will wake you up, allowing you to be more active and happier throughout the day. If you start to feel a bit fatigued, annoyed, or sad after a few hours in the office, soak up some sun on a quick walk during your lunch break.

Exercise daily. Regular physical activity is a great way to elevate your mood and keep your body energized and healthy. Because of winter’s icy weather, many of us get in the routine of simply going to work and coming home—who wants to spend more time in the cold than they have to? It’s easy to fall into this monotonous routine that will leave you feeling rundown. But just a half hour of exercise a day can bring you out of the winter dreariness. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, interacting with your brain to reduce your perception of pain and to create positive feelings. Regular exercise is known to reduce stress, improve sleep, and repel depression. While exercise elevates your mood, it also makes your body healthier overall. It helps you lose weight, strengthens your heart and bones, lowers blood pressure, and increases your energy levels. Take your dog for a walk through the neighborhood, join some friends for yoga, ask someone to be your jogging buddy, go for a swim at the gym—if you want to feel great no matter the season, you have to be active.          

Eat a nutritious breakfast. Although it’s often overlooked, when you eat better, you feel better. Food is fuel your body needs to function properly—if you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops and you’ll end up feeling tired and irritable. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it gets your body going. After fasting all night while you sleep, skipping breakfast is like trying to start a car on empty; you’re running on fumes. This makes it tempting to reach for fattening and sugary, processed snacks throughout the day. Our bodies have to work hard to digest fat, so this will only end up making you feel more tired. If you start your day with a good breakfast, like a green smoothie filled with the nutrients your body needs, it’ll restore your glucose levels, essential for proper brain function. A nutritious breakfast improves concentration levels and mood, and it helps reduce snack cravings. Let your healthy breakfast pave the way for healthy meal choices throughout the day, and fill up on G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds). With proper the nutrients, your body will feel better than ever--even in winter!


What healthy choices are you making to overcome the winter blues? Share with us below!



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