With the winter season quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to prepare your family, your home and your mindset for the temperature change, the darker days and the temptation to eat more and move less as a way to console the winter blues. If you find yourself in the doldrums during winter, remember that good foods, good habits, good moods and good health go hand in hand.
Good Foods for Good Moods and High Energy
- Focus on nutrient-rich foods – Eating “comfort foods” may help you relax and give you a mood boost, but it’s only temporary. Nutrient-rich foods — like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein foods — provide a consistent and long-lasting impact on your health, mood, energy and alertness.
- Cut back on your fat intake – A high-fat diet can be a real brain and energy drainer. Just say “no” to deep-fried foods and look for foods that contain no more than 3 grams of fat per serving.
- Eat moderate portion sizes and avoid large meals – Have you ever wondered why you feel tired after eating a large meal? During periods of digestion, your blood supply is directed to the digestive tract and away from the brain. This may lead to fatigue and lethargy.
- Eat regular meals – Skipping meals can slow your metabolic rate, and the lower your metabolism, the lower your energy level. Plan regular meals and snacks to keep your metabolic rate and blood sugar levels normal to provide your brain the appropriate means to function and handle stress.
- Remember balance, variety and moderation – The best strategy for maintaining a good mood, high-energy level and optimal concentration is to consistently eat a wide variety of foods high in nutritional value.
Five Reasons to Keep Moving – Even if it’s Cold!
- If you’re low on energy, don’t hibernate… move! Daily exercise — at least 30 minutes of physical activity, like walking, running, cross-country skiing or indoor biking — will increase your energy level.
- Staying active keeps your mind alert and helps to ease that winter blues feeling. Exercise is a powerful mood elevator, so try taking a brisk walk next time you need to cheer up.
- You can build balance and flexibility and help prevent injury by stretching regularly — at home and at work.
- Finding group exercise classes will lift your mood by adding a little variety and socialization to your schedule.
- Feel good by spending time with your family — go for a walk around your neighborhood, shovel the snow together, go sledding or build a snowman.
Improvise Lighting to Boost Your Mood
- Experience some light when you first wake up, whether it’s the natural sunlight or artificial light. About a half-hour a day will give a positive start to your mind and body.
- Try to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day if possible.
- Set a timer on a light to go on early in the morning in the bedroom.
- Use light therapy products, such as full-spectrum light bulbs or dawn simulators, which act as an artificial substitute for natural light and a natural sunrise.
- Make your home or office sunny and bright. Open blinds, sit by a window, increase indoor lighting with lamps and fixtures and add a sunny color (yellow/orange) or a plant to your space.