The lead up to Christmas and the promise of a new year makes those first months of winter festive and full of fun. But already those piles of snow that looked so charming framed by twinkling lights have begun to seem like a burden. And even though they’re slowly growing longer, the short, dark days have started to take their toll on many of us. Rather than spending the next three months hibernating, try these simple tricks for increasing your energy levels so that you can have more fun, even when it looks like a blizzard outside.
Take a Pill
Vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine hormone” because our bodies are designed to produce it as a response to the sun shining on our bare skin. Without it, we find ourselves feeling sluggish, and vitamin D deficiency may even lead to weight gain. As sunlight is in short supply, consider taking a supplement. There’s controversy over the proper therapeutic dose of vitamin D, so it’s best to consult with your doctor or a trained natural health practitioner.
Turn Up the Light
A white light lamp, which mimics the rays of the sun, has had a profound impact on my energy levels and disposition during these dreary months. To see results, look for a model that emits 10,000 lux and spend 30 minutes in front of it each day, perhaps while enjoying your morning cuppa Joe.
Break a Sweat
Twenty minutes of exercise every day has proven to have an incredibly positive impact on your mood. But you don’t have to be busting your chops at the gym to see the difference. Go for a walk on your lunch break. Follow along with a yoga video on YouTube. Put on your favourite dance moves and get your groove on. The key is consistency; so just make sure you’re moving a little bit each day.
Limit Your Caffeine and Carb Intake
While they might give you a bit of a buzz in the short-term, excessive consumption of caffeine and carbs can actually desensitize your system to serotonin (the “happiness hormone”). Swap one of your daily coffees for green tea and fill your plate with more veggies than anything else.
Take a Class
Learning a new skill is a known mood booster and making the monetary commitment is one way to make sure you get out of the house every week. From learning how to create healthy meals from a local nutritionist to enrolling in an off-the-wall fitness class, consider picking a course that jives with your New Year’s resolutions. If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, sites like SkillShare have plenty to offer and you won’t have to leave the comfort of home.
Go on a Date
In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends a weekly date with yourself as a way to amp up your creativity. But whether you check out the latest exhibit at the AGO on your own or have lunch at a new restaurant with your best friend, I’ve found regular outings are a great way to boost my mood. Be sure to schedule your dates in advance because the anticipation of trying something new can be almost as fun as the event itself.