How To Boost Your Mood During Dark Winter Days| January 19, 2023
Your mood has a considerable impact on the quality of your life. It can alter your perception of the world, relationships with others, and mental and physical health. It's especially crucial that you take care of your mood at this time of year; as the days are getting shorter and the nights are becoming longer, many individuals experience a loss of energy, an increase in appetite, a decrease in motivation, and a general shift in their mood.
Some believe that shifts in our exposure to light are responsible for the mood swings some of us experience. While we cannot control the weather or the length of the day, there are strategies to combat stress, unhappiness, low mood, and energy.
Read on to find out what factors contribute to low mood and how you may apply some simple, all-natural techniques to boost your mood as the days get shorter and darker.
Factors Contribute to Mood Problems During Dark Winter Days
Fall-short winter photoperiod has significant negative effects on energy, mood, and sleep and can induce a 'hibernation response' in many. This causes people to remain inside more often, eat more, and sleep more, all of which contribute to low energy, lack of motivation, and mood issues. These conditions may cause some individuals to develop the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes known as winter depression1,2.
The primary factor for these conditions is reduced daylight during the winter months. With less sunlight, your body makes different amounts of two neurotransmitters, melatonin, and serotonin. In reaction to the darkness of the winter months, melatonin production rises. This contributes to fatigue and drowsiness.
Serotonin levels, however, tend to drop in the winter. Sunlight is a key factor in maintaining enough concentrations. Serotonin is the feel-good neurotransmitter in your brain, and its low levels contribute to mood problems and other depressive symptoms3.
All-Natural Techniques to Boost Your Mood During Dark Winter Days
There are proven techniques to prevent winter depression, regardless of how much or little you struggle. The long months ahead may seem more manageable if you attempt just one of these mood-boosting methods to help you relax, unwind, and find a little joy right now.
1. Adopt A Healthy Routine
If you take care of both your body and mind by making healthy choices, you may help yourself feel more mentally strong, raise your confidence, and improve your mood.
Limiting alcohol intake and practicing general self-care, such as establishing regular bedtime and wake-up times, exercising, and consuming a well-balanced diet at regular mealtimes, can significantly contribute to achieving a feeling of well-being and a better mood.
Some research suggests that eating a small amount of dark chocolate can lower blood levels of the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines, which can have calming and mood-boosting effects4. Additionally, one study found that consuming blueberries and other foods rich in flavonoids enhanced the mood of young adults and children5.
2. Try Out Light Therapy
Sunlight enhances serotonin production, which may reflect why some depressed individuals experience worsening symptoms during the winter months. As previously mentioned, spending less time in the sun may reduce serotonin levels, which can lead to sadness, anxiety, and low mood and energy6.
It is crucial to increase your exposure to daylight during the day. There are many ways to accomplish this. Even on cloudy days, you can try to spend more time outside to get more natural light7. You can also purchase an indoor light specifically intended to treat SAD. These lights are intended for household usage and are supposed to simulate natural sunshine, but they are not quite as bright. They vary in luminosity from 2,500 to 10,000 lux.
The amount of time the light is left on depends on its brightness; a low light may need to be left on for two hours per day, while a bright light may just need to be left on for half an hour. When using, put the light box at a 45-degree angle to your body on a table. Don't stare into the light; let it bounce off your face. Start with 15 minutes within the first hour after waking up, increasing to 30 minutes each morning during the fall and winter. Some people use them for an extra 10 minutes in the afternoon when they feel their energy level dropping.
Many people feel better within a few days, and the majority should feel completely normal within a week or two after starting light treatment8.
3. Exercise In the Morning
Exercise in the morning has the same effect on our circadian rhythms as exposure to bright light in the morning. In addition, according to a study, five minutes of moderate exercise or physical activity can improve mood. During exercise, endorphins are released, and endorphins make you happy9.
Plan your workouts during the day when possible and spend time outside if the weather permits and the ground is not yet frozen. It also helps boost energy during the day so that you can wind down at a suitable time at night, contributing to your sleep hygiene. Whether you prefer walking, trail running, or something else, try incorporating some form of physical activity into your daily routine to improve your mood and balance your sleep-wake cycle.
4. Try Mindfulness and Meditation
Meditation and yoga are two Mindfulness practices that can help you pinpoint your negative emotions and lift your mood if the lack of sunlight has you down. Practicing mindfulness enables you to channel your emotions and examine your thoughts without judging them. Meditation helps calm the mind and body and relieves the triggers that cause anxiety or sadness.
5. Get An Adequate Amount of Sleep
To maximize the benefits of a night's sleep, you must obtain neither too much nor too little but the optimal quantity. What is the appropriate quantity, you may ask? Indeed, it depends. Some people can live on six hours of sleep every night, while others may require nine. Each person has unique demands.
The secret is to adapt your sleep schedule to your body's requirements. Don't consistently deprive yourself of sleep, but also don't consistently oversleep. Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on mood, but much sleep can exacerbate depression.
Take note of the amount of sleep you now receive and how you feel. Adapt the amount as necessary. If possible, eliminate your alarm clock and observe when you wake up naturally. Consider keeping a sleep journal to record the amount of sleep you receive and the external and internal factors that influence it10.
6. Ensure A Restful Night's Sleep
In addition to having enough sleep, it's essential that your sleep is of high quality, meaning you don't wake up frequently during the night. There are numerous ways to accomplish this.
Maintain a regular schedule for waking up and sleeping as well on weekends. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before night and avoid watching or listening to disturbing programs. If you have insomnia, you should avoid afternoon naps.
Eliminating or at least reducing your time spent in the artificial light at night is an additional helpful tactic. This involves lowering or turning off some lights in your home. Begin doing this a couple of hours before bedtime to begin preparing your brain for sleep.
Finally, you presumably already know that blue-light-emitting electronic gadgets, such as laptops and TVs, should be avoided in the late evenings before bedtime. Still, we're highlighting this because it's pretty significant.
You may wish to use Bodytox Lavender Sleep Patches to enhance your sleep's quantity and quality. Bodytox Lavender Sleep Patches are a calming product made with organic components to aid in the body's relaxation so that you can have a peaceful night's sleep free from interruptions and discomfort. Sleep patches remove harmful pollutants from the body, promote sound sleep, boost vitality, and advance general health and well-being11.
7. Maintain Relationships with Those You Value
Don't fall into the trap of isolation if your mood begins to decline. It is normal for sad individuals to separate themselves from others, yet this rarely improves their mood.
Personalize your activities according to your level of comfort. If you don't want to attend a function, ask a couple of friends over for dinner. Make regular plans to spend time with friends and family. Spend time with youngsters whose outlook on life differs from that of adults. They may perceive challenging circumstances as exciting12.
8. Try New Indoor Activities
Now is the ideal time to retrieve that old craft bag containing unfinished projects from the depths of your closet. Knit or crochet socks or a scarf. Now it’s time to make your holiday gifts and decorations by hand. Set the objective of acquiring a new skill or undertaking a new task.
Have you ever desired to learn how to cook or play an instrument? The time has come! Learning something new presents your brain with a challenge and excites it, which in turn makes you happier. You might also give yourself a reading goal, such as a certain number of books per month.
9. Prepare Weeknight Dinners
It's easy to fall into a routine of staying indoors as the sun goes down, watching television and losing interest in doing anything else. Your symptoms of lethargy, lack of motivation, and depression may worsen if you order delivery every night.
Planning and preparing midweek dinners offers you something to do when you return home. Prepare to have guests around for a home-cooked lunch if you want to boost your mood even more! You will be physically engaged in preparing the meal, and friends will accompany you for an enjoyable weeknight at home.
10. Try Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, the therapeutic use of essential oils, may also be beneficial for improving mood. It is believed to reduce symptoms of depression and other psychological conditions, such as anxiety and sleep disorders. However, establishing an atmosphere of warmth and comfort is also beneficial.
The calming effect of employing air diffusers, lighting scented candles, using room fresheners, or soaking in essential oils will also contribute to better sleep and mood regulation.
There are several essential oils that you can use to help lessen fatigue and enhance your energy levels, motivation, and mood. The stimulating effects of rosemary oil on mood states, brain wave activity, and the autonomic nervous system were first demonstrated in a 2012 study13. Later, a 2018 study including school-aged children revealed that rosemary could improve concentration and memory, potentially enhancing school memorization14.
Moreover, a 2008 study indicated that lemon oil reliably improves mood15. What's more, citrus fruit aromas have traditionally been considered uplifting. To get pure and high-quality essential oils without worry, you can purchase Harmony's Essential Oils. These are best for creating a pleasant environment, a sense of ultimate relaxation, and improving mood and energy this winter.
The Bottom Line
It can be hard to move into the cooler, darker winter months. It is believed that fluctuations in our exposure to light contribute to mood swings experienced by some individuals. Too much sleep, low energy, excessive eating, hopelessness, isolation, and a lack of sexual desire are all possible side effects of low mood during dark winter days. However, you can boost your mood and energy by adopting a routine, improving your sleep hygiene, increasing your exposure to natural light, exercising, and spending time with friends. Moreover, Harmony's Citrus, Rosemary, and Happy Essential Oils may help uplift your mood and energy and combat stress during these dark winter days.
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