Simple Steps To Kick The Winter Blues

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A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones – Prov 17:22

The days are shorter, our mornings are darker and the trees are stripped of their splendour, it’s so tempting to hibernate and live shorter, darker, slightly stripped lives – I’m here to tell you that a bit of early evening hibernation under a blanket with a book is fine but if you’re already feeling the winter slump, the deep sigh of another day, it’s time to lift your head friend!

I don’t think I’d describe myself as genuinely suffering from Seasonal effective disorder (SAD) but I’ve had years of waves of the winter woes (and I’m  a happy, glass half-full gal through and through); wanting to rush through the season, just ‘get through’ to Spring when we can really live again! Not any more!

So here are fives things that have helped me give the winter slump a kick in the behind!

Practice Gratitude 

“…the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”
― Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts‘ started a powerful process in so many of us around learning the power of a thankful heart, but not only that, we write it down, everyday. Everyone from life coaches to counsellors are advising people to keep a gratitude journal and it really is a poignant tool for directing our simple, thankful lives to God.

Write three things down that you are thankful for at the beginning or at the end of everyday.

Get Outside (Exercise)

My lovely friend Alex, (aka Fitness Mama) talks so much about the impact of exercise on our mental health and wellbeing. We don’t have to become weight lifters, triathletes or marathon runners but a 15 – 20 minute daily commitment to move our bodies (brisk walk, work-out video, exercise bike etc.) can transform the way we feel about ourselves and our day. Exercise resets our hormones and releases a wonderful happy feeling – go on, try it!

Clear Out A Cupboard

Whether you’re a ‘clean freak’ or not, there’s something so therapeutic about cleaning out a cupboard, a drawer or that overflowing bag of ‘stuff’ under the stairs – especially in winter. Don’t save all your spring cleaning till spring, make a short list of 5 decluttering projects you could do over this winter and schedule them in, one a week.

Eat Happy Food

Okay, so I’m not talking about picking up a  bag of donuts on your way home from work or polishing off a whole bar of chocolate every night, no, I’m talking about real food! Real nutritionally packed foods that make you feel great!

Almost two years ago now I quit sugar; this made a huge impact on my emotional and hormonal wellbeing; right now I’m taking it a step further and I’m over halfway through my second round of the Whole30 where I have eliminated not only sugar but grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol and all processed foods . I can honestly say coming into this autumn/winter period that I’ve never felt better. The right foods can absolutely increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, and quell anxiety.

It all comes down to the brain.A healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood, and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function

Try adding these fabulous food into your winter menu and see how you feel!

Smile

Crazy, I know, but it works – a simple change in the setting of your face can have an impact on how you feel. Researchers in the 80’s and 90’s tested this theory out and it’s true, smiling makes you happier!

Smile at your kids, smile at the stranger on the street, smile at the cashier in the supermarket, or go wild and smile at yourself in the mirror this morning!

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

Phyllis Diller

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