I am sitting in my apartment, heater on, hoodie deep down in my face sipping on a cup of coffee. At this stage, my mood is probably falling as fast as the thermometer, and it’s not even July yet! 6,480,000 seconds or 1460 hours or just over 2.5 months more to go until we can welcome spring back into our lives again. On my watch, that’s an awfully long time to survive on strong coffee to get me out of bed and moan over ridiculously high power bills to keep my feet warm at night. I’m not exactly going out on a limb here when I say that winter isn’t probably the most popular time of the year for most people. While you can’t really escape it unless you are fortunate enough and jet off to tropical destinations as soon as the mercury drops, there are ways to lift your spirits and beat the winter blues.

1. Food for your Mood

Yes, it’s a thing. You can eat yourself happy and boost your energy level if you watch your diet. While most of us appreciate a thick juicy rib eye steak cooked on the barbie in summer, the high saturated fat content won’t boost your serotonin levels during the cold winter months. Stay away from juicy steaks for the time being and look for lean protein options the next time you go grocery shopping. Lean Protein such as Salmon carries plenty of amino acids to fight your mood swings and is also an excellent source of energy to get you through the day. Limit your sugar intake too. Sugar might give you a warm fuzzy feeling for a little while, but too much of it can functionally change your brain and slow it down. Instead, make sure you add some berries to your daily diet. Berries aren’t just delicious, but they may also help prevent and control the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that races towards your hippocampus, a major part of the brain during stressful situations.  While berries and coffee don’t really go together, we encourage you to consume lots of the latter. Research has shown that people who drink up to four cups a day are A, less likely to develop depressions than non-drinkers and B, are half as likely to commit suicide than people who stay away from the strong caffeinated brew.

http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/27/coffee-may-lower-womens-risk-of-depression/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24743309

2. Get active!

As much as it sucks to get up in the blistering cold each morning, the colder months are actually a great time to be active and experiment with your workouts. Mix up your routine and include some high-intensity cardio sessions to keep out those colds, sniffles, flus. Exercising is an excellent way to get your blood pumping and boost your immune system to avoid trips to the doctor during the cold winter months. Shorter days mean less sunlight which plays a trick on our serotonin level in our brain, leaving us feeling tired and hungry more often than not.  Although there is nothing better than comfort food to stop the cravings a new workout routine can help compensate the lack of serotonin by releasing endorphins during and post workouts. A boost in endorphins not only prevents you from eating food you shouldn’t eat but also helps you remain active and motivated to break bad habits.

3. Book a holiday!

What better way to beat winter doldrums by planning a trip to a tropical paradise? Research has shown that people who plan holidays during the colder months of the year tend to cope with winter blues much better than people who don’t. From personal experience, it makes it much more bearable to get out of bed in the morning, when you have a trip to warmer territories to look forward to.  I suggest you hop online and check for deals on cheap flights to your next destination. Especially during the winter months, there are some great deals to be found online. Once you pull the trigger on your next trip,  I guarantee you 6,480,000 seconds or 1460 hours or just over 2.5 months all of a sudden doesn’t sound bad at all anymore.

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