Because the polar vortex is no joke.
Punxsutawney Phil might have predicted an earlier spring arrival this year, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods just yet. There are plenty more dark, cold, wintry days ahead of us (hello, polar vortex), which can be crippling for your workout motivation, vitamin D-producing sun exposure and more. With that said, there’s no need to let this harsh season get the best of you and your mood. Here are five ways to keep the winter blues at bay until spring finally blooms.
1. Keep your sleep as consistent as possible.
We know this suggestion is probably the most challenging to follow, but if you keep your circadian rhythm in sync, the rest of your body will feel so much better throughout the day. Make a point to fall asleep within the same 30-minute window each night by turning off those screens and reaching for a book and a relaxing cup of tea instead. Then, when that alarm sounds in the morning, resist the urge to press the snooze button and give yourself a few minutes of stretch time in bed before jumping into your morning routine. Your stabilized energy levels will help prevent unwanted mood swings during the day.
2. Give aromatherapy a try.
It’s amazing how helpful your olfactory senses can be when it comes to reinvigorating your body. When the afternoon slump hits (or we’re just not feeling it first thing on a Wednesday morning), we reach for our enlivening essential oils. Citrus options like sweet orange and grapefruit wake you up and boost your mood simultaneously, while spearmint helps you refocus and feel more alert at work. Keep a couple of little bottles on hand in your home and at your desk, and just take a nice, long, deep inhale of your favorite one whenever you need a pick-me-up.
3. Lean into winter produce.
Eating well is another sure-fire way to keep your body calm and happy. And even though the warmer months are known for their natural bounty, don’t miss out on the tasty finds of winter. Citrus fruits are at their prime, making for zesty marinades, zingy smoothies and refreshing snacks. Plus, sweet potatoes, turnips, collard greens and kale are ready to bring you warming, comforting stews that are jam-packed with important nutrients. Even though we tend to let our diets slip a bit when we fall into hibernation mode, keep an eye on that fresh produce in the grocery store for mealtime inspiration. Your plates will be anything but dull and dreary.
4. Start a meditation practice.
If the downward spiral of your own thoughts is what makes you feel blah during the winter months, now is probably the best time to take a stab at a meditation practice. Even just setting aside five minutes each day to focus on your breathing and let your anxious, annoyed, stressed and tired thoughts go can make a world of difference on your general demeanor and outlook on life. No, it won’t keep the sun the sky for a couple of extra hours each day, but it’ll keep your internal energy flame burning steadily and consistently even on your toughest days.
5. Prioritize some friend time.
The winter chill sends many of us fleeing for our couches, unwilling to move until the Spring Equinox. However, too much solitary time when you’re already feeling low will only make your winter blues worse. So muster up whatever energy you can to leave your comfy cave and hang out with some close friends. From brunch to a happy hour to a frigid walk through the park, commiserate with your fellow humans over how ready you are for winter to be over. It’ll help the time pass by that much quicker.