For many, the colder, darker days of winter can make a real impact on the mood. It’s easy to understand why our moods might go down in winter, when our lives can look very different from usual. Less sunlight can often lead to less physical activity and social interaction, which, cumulatively, can have a downing effect on the mood. The good news is some simple pre-emptive measures can go a long way in keeping your spirits and health up during winter. And, if you’ve experienced this before, you likely have an idea of when it is likely to hit you each year. It could be in January when the holiday season is over. The point is to anticipate the change and be prepared.

Make an effort to be social

In winter it is all too easy to cancel plans but making the effort to fit social time into your schedule, whether it’s grabbing a quick coffee with friends or going for a group run, goes a long way.  Consider scheduling weekly or monthly meetups with friends.

Find your winter workout

If the weather is keeping you inside, find an indoor workout that works for you. You could join a gym, invest in some simple home equipment, or find a class online. On the other hand, if you’d rather be outside, try a new activity such as ice skating or snow-shoeing.

Make a list of new things to try

Having a list of things that excite you or give you something to look forward to is a great resource on bleak winter days. It could be as a simple as a book you’ve always wanted to read, or that recipe you never had the time to try. It could be a more elaborate project, like planning a dreamy trip to a sunny destination.

Sleep and nutrition

With any seasonal or lifestyle change, it’s always a good idea to check in with your sleep and nutrition needs and make some necessary tweaks. I.e you might find going to bed earlier works best for you in winter. If you’re eating healthfully and locally, and you should be, dietary tweaks are a must, such as adding in more roasted veggies, soups, and whole grains. It is also beneficial to supplement your diet with high-quality vitamins, as well as good fats such as omega 3 and an immune boosting supplement.

Schedule in fun

A dark Winter evening is a great time to indulge in a purifying salt bath or aromatic bath oil to put the spa experience into your tub time. Always wanted to learn the piano? Book some lessons. Buy those flowers at the market. Borrow some books on a subject that interests you. These are just some ideas of how to easily carve out a little time for yourself during the week.

If the seasonal impact on your mood is significant or consistently a struggle, consult a mental health provider.

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