Winter is definitely coming (…or perhaps it’s already here, depending on where you live in the world…), which means it’s time to start preparing for darker days and colder temperatures. But fear not, seekers of light and coziness! Winter can still be a time of well-being and contentment, so long as you do your best to shut out the seasonal blues.
Here are a few suggestions and friendly reminders that will hopefully help you feel merry and bright throughout the coming months.
Read on for more…
1 – Get Your Hygge On
Hygge – pronounced ‘hoo-guh’ – is a Danish term encompassing ‘a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being,’ as defined by the Oxford Dictionaries. It is derived from a older Norwegian word, hugga, meaning ‘to comfort’ or ‘to console’ and is related to our English word hug. No wonder the word itself gives me warm fuzzy feelings inside!
So how does one get their hygge on, hmm? For starters, try lighting some candles – or get a crackling fire going in your fireplace if you have one. Snuggle up under a plush throw blanket in your comfiest, coziest loungewear. Say yes to chilling out in chunky knitwear and woolen longjohns and fuzzy slippers. Eat stuff that is familiar and comforting, like your favorite pastries. Treat yourself to a nice hot cup of cocoa and marshmallows, if that’s something you enjoy. Read a good book in a cozy nook, and spend some quality time with friends, loved ones, and pets.
2 – Be Cozy Yet Connected, Not A Hibernating Hermit
It can be tempting to retreat into our homes and hibernate during the dimmest, coldest days and nights of winter, but try to resist doing this entirely. Make an effort to stay connected with those people in your life who bring you joy and try to get together when you can.
If you don’t happen to live nearby to your friends and family or they all happen to be away different places for the winter, consider doing something else somewhat social. Perhaps there is a volunteering opportunity near you that you could try out during the winter months?
3 – Eat Well, Feel Better
I’ve delved deeply into dozens of research-backed health, fitness, foodie, and well-being sites to assemble a list of foods recommended by a variety of dieticians and researchers to help boost mood and combat the seasonal blues.
A few key nutrients for the winter months seem to be complex carbohydrates, omega-3s, vitamin D, vitamin B, protein, and iron.
Our bodies need vitamin D in conjunction with calcium in order to maintain strong, healthy bones. When we’re out and about in the sunshine, direct sunlight interacts with a chemical in our skin and converts it into a form of vitamin D. In the winter when there is less daylight, we often don’t get as much of this vital nutrient as we need. One suggestion is to eat more foods rich in vitamin D during the winter months. These foods include salmon, beef, eggs, fortified milk, fortified orange juice, and oatmeal.
Complex carbohydrates are thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain, inducing a calming effect. Because they take longer for your body to break down, these nutrients may also help you feel fuller and warmer for longer. Oatmeal, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, and whole grain breads are good sources of complex carbs.
Some other feel-good foods include flax and chia seeds (packed with omega 3 fatty acids), dark chocolate (loaded with all sorts of antioxidants), citrus (containing lots of folate), and avocado (rich in vitamin B).
4 – Walk Off Those Winter Blues
Regular exercise in winter can boost your mood as well as your immune system. While we exercise, our bodies release various feel-good chemicals like serotonin. If it’s simply too cold to go outside, try hitting the nearest gym or find a suitable place in your home to do a workout of your choice. If you can wrap up warm and bear it, still consider exercising outside in winter where possible. There may be fewer daylight hours but you can still make the most of them, perhaps getting an important bit of vitamin D while you’re at it.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Got any other winter wellness tips you’d like to share with everyone? Feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for stopping by, and may your transition into winter times be a happy, healthy one!