ideas to boost your mood on the long haul between Autumn and Spring.
For most, winter means holidays, parties, cold weather, layers of clothes, and zero motivation. This can cause your diet and exercise routine to come to a screeching halt, leading to the dreaded winter weight gain and a general depression. This in turn leads to ‘comfort eating’ which leads to more depression about the weight gain!
This year, don’t let the winter blues stop your progress; these simple strategies will help stop the winter blues.
Let in the light.
Less daylight makes you feel more tired, explaining why people are less active in the winter. Early morning light is the most potent energy booster, so leave your bedroom curtains open or head out for a morning stroll. Sunshine also increases levels of the brain chemical serotonin giving you a sense of well being.
Set motivational plans.
Plan an active spring holiday to get you through the cold winter months, such as a hiking excursion or a road trip to the coast, where you can do all sorts of outdoor activities. Or plan something motivational such as a half marathon, so you’ll be forced to start training ASAP.
It’s hard to eat right when you don’t have access to fresh fruits and veggies like you do in the summer. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t delicious alternatives—winter’s low-cal gems such as oranges and acorn squash are delicious and filling, according to Cheskin. Try oatmeal and low-calorie soups as well.
Holidays come with stress—like overspending and hosting in-laws and family members. Be aware of the stress factors in your life (or ones you deal with during holidays), make note of them, and decide how you will handle them before they get the better of you.
Not thrilled at the drop in temperature and the wet and windy weather? Don’t worry; there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy during winter. Take your family and friends bowling. Play with your pet, which helps emotionally, physically, and mentally. Go to the shopping mall for some retail therapy or simply some window-shopping, and you’ll be walking without even realizing it.
Load up on zinc.
In a recent study, scientists found that low levels of zinc were associated with a decrease in metabolic rate. So try a variety of healthy foods full of zinc—you can find it in nuts, whole grains, and a lot of different kinds of fruits and vegetables to boost your metabolism and improve your mood (and maybe even shift some of that excess weight you accumulate with being indoors in winter).