4 Little Habits That Will Boost Your Mood Big Time, Doctor Says
Many individuals find winter puts them in a worse mood than other seasons of the year. After all, you're dealing with shorter days and much more darkness. Bundling up is necessary to combat the colder temps, and because it's so frigid outside, it's very possible you're at home a lot more. Sound familiar? Well, check out these little habits to boost your mood in the winter, according to an expert. You'll be so glad you did!
To learn about these helpful tips, Eat This, Not That! reached out to Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, the Director of Medical Content and Education at Ro, a certified personal trainer, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, who explains, "Some people develop seasonal affective disorder—a type of depression—which is related to the change in seasons and may be caused by decreased sunlight. Others may not fully develop seasonal affective disorder but might feel more down anyway."
Cheer up, because there are several things you can try to do every day that may help boost your mood in the winter. Keep reading to learn more, and next up, don't miss Feeling Down This Winter? Try These Self-Care Hacks To Improve Your Mood.
Exercise each day.
Exercise is key when it comes to feeling good. The reason is simple. By performing exercise, you will boost the flow of blood to your brain, which will positively impact your mood every time of the year. It's something you can—and absolutely should—consider doing this cold winter season.
Dr. Bohl points out, "Even just adding 10 minutes of exercise into each day can have a beneficial effect. For example, you can design a 10-minute morning exercise routine for yourself that you do every day right when you wake up. Exactly what you incorporate into your routine is up to you, but some easy exercises that can be done in the bedroom and don't require specialized equipment include push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, jumping jacks, and wall sits."
Be socially interactive.
Another important thing to try to do is to plan social interaction, which also has an extremely positive effect on your mood.
Now, if it's snowing out, you probably will not want to head out to a happy hour or to the local coffee shop. But Dr. Bohl suggests, "One easy thing you can do is plan on calling a friend on the phone once a day for a 15-minute chat. You can reach out to your usual group of friends or take the opportunity to ring someone you haven't spoken to in a while, like an old college friend."
Carve out some time for mindful activities.
Being active and social is extremely healthy, but it's also important to insert mindfulness into each day. You should definitely check out the large variety of apps that offer activities that are mindful. This is a great activity, as you can dedicate whatever time you can each day.
"For example, to mirror your 10-minute morning workout, you can do a 10-minute evening meditation right before bed. If seasonal affective disorder is affecting you, going outside into the sunlight or using a light box inside can help boost your mood. Getting about 30 minutes of extra light, preferably in the morning hours, may be effective in keeping your mood more elevated through the winter months," Dr. Bohl recommends.
Add new snacks to your day.
Discovering new healthy options to snack on can totally brighten each day a bit and boost your overall mood.
According to Dr. Bohl, "This can help for a couple of reasons—first, eating a varied and nutritious diet, in and of itself, is important for optimizing mental health. And having a goal of discovering a new snack each day and then taking the time to turn it into an activity and create it (before then enjoying your tasty creation) can help give you a small sense of accomplishment for the day (and something to look forward to the next day)."