Winter brings the darkest and coldest days of the year. For some people, this can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is often caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight. If you’re feeling blue and wondering how to boost your mood, don’t despair. Read on for Atkins list of natural mood boosters and winter wellness tips.
Revel in the sunshine.
Getting enough sunshine is a simple and natural way to boost your mood. During the day, leave your curtains and blinds open as long as possible. If you can, take a walk while it’s still bright out, preferably in the morning. According to researchers, sunshine may increase levels of serotonin—a natural antidepressant—in the brain.
Pet the pooch.
Fido, rejoice! A fun way to beat the winter blues is spending time with your furry friend. Petting your dog for just 15 minutes has been shown to release a flurry of mood-boosting hormones including oxytocin, according to a study at University of Missouri-Columbia.
Sweat it out.
In the long term, exercise can help lessen the severity of depression symptoms. But it can have an immediate effect on your health too. Research has found that exercise can lift your spirits immediately following a sweat session, thanks to feel-good endorphins released during a workout; this is often referred to as a “runner’s high.”
Get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is crucial to feeling your best. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep (7–9 hours for most adults) and maintain a consistent bedtime.
Opt for nutritious foods.
Wintertime can make you crave unhealthy comfort foods, but good nutrition is paramount to feeling your best. Opt for a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Omega-3 fatty acids, like the kind found in fish, have been proven to be especially mood-boosting. Try making one of Atkins delicious seafood recipes, such as Bahian Halibut or Grilled Sesame Salmon.
Drink more water.
You need to keep up your hydration levels in the winter too, as dehydration can cause fatigue, irritability, and headaches. The health benefits of drinking water are plentiful, and it is an easy and natural way to boost your mood.
Leave enough time in your schedule for self-care. While sitting on the couch binging on Netflix can be relaxing once in a while, it’s important to mix it up with other ways to beat the winter blues. Pour yourself a warm bubble bath, curl up with a good novel, treat yourself to a pedicure, or work on learning a new skill, such as knitting or painting.
Reach for chocolate.
If you need another excuse to nibble on chocolate, here it is. Dark chocolate has been shown to bolster serotonin production in the brain. Dig into an Atkins Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut bar for a quick mood lift.
Start a gratitude journal.
Every night before bed, write down three things you’re grateful for. Studies show that people who regularly practice gratitude are happier in general.