How to fight the winter blues

Are you stressed by the fast-paced environment? Do you have mood swings, feel anxious, nervous or depressed? It may be winter blues but don’t worry – there are cures for that. A few main factors that affect your mood are diet, lack of exercise and fresh air and your attitude towards life. So let’s see what you can do to start seeing the glass half full.

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The most often reason for the sleep and focus problems is the lack of magnesium. Usually, we don’t supply enough magnesium for our body as stress and physical effort flush this mineral out. The easiest way to absorb the magnesium is through the skin although you can add the certain foods to
your diet to improve its levels: nuts (brazils and almonds), seeds (sesame and sunflower), lentils and beans, leafy greens, groats (millet, buckwheat), rice and fish (mackerel and tuna). You can try to mix the nuts and seeds in the salads, put the groats in the soup instead of pasta or fill the stews with beans. There are plenty of options – just use your imagination.
To supplement magnesium by a skin, you have to invest either in magnesium flakes that dissolve in water (but they can be quite expensive) or in a lotion. Then you can make a magnesium baths or use the lotion over your body.

Sonya Lubomirsky in her book “The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want” writes about a few ways the gratitude makes you happy: it promotes to focus on the positive life experiences, boosts the self-esteem, helps people to deal with stress and traumas and to build and strengthen social relationships.
If you’re not convinced then try it – every night, when the day is finished and when you’re in bed in your pajamas, take a notebook and write about three things that you’re grateful for. It can be anything – people, things that you’ve heard, items you bought, small events that passed almost unnoticed – use your memory and imagination. You can be grateful for an easy day at work, lunch with a friend, the fact that a car driver made a way for you – really there are so many things and events that we ignore but make our lives much easier and nicer.

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware in the present moment. As you can get into the “hamster ball”, analyzing past, wondering about future and worrying about anything else but not present, the mindfulness exercises can help you to stop for a moment, find the sources of the stress and anxiety and fight with them. There are plenty of websites and guided exercises on youtube. They’re not time-consuming and when you’ll learn a few, you will be able to do it anywhere, anytime. The exercises use your breath to help you to focus on your own feelings and emotions and your environment, to start noticing the world around you.

Do you tend to stay at home during the winter because it’s too dark, too cold and just not right to leave? If so, then you’re depriving yourself of vitamin D which is important for your immune system, bones, and muscles. The lack of vitamin D also has a negative impact for your sleep.
You can supplement it in tablets but you can also make yourself a favour and walk to or back from work or take a bike instead of a car or a bus. Try to do this once or twice a week first, then increase the time and frequency and you will see the results as you will feel more relaxed and focused.
Another great activity is yoga as it doesn’t require any equipment except for the mat. You can do it in a gym, yoga hub or in your own house if you prefer. Just open youtube, write “yoga for beginners” and you will find plenty of options and exercises there. Yoga helps to find the tensions in your body and release them and regulate and deepen the breath. After watching a few videos, you will be able to put your own tailor-made exercise together.

Do you like to feel important, to feel like you contribute to the world? I’m sure you do and the easiest way feel that way is to do something good for other people. There are plenty of options and you can do a small favour whenever you want. You can donate to the charity, donate the blood or bone marrow, volunteer, help a friend, give warm food and drink to the homeless and when you lack the ideas, just search the Internet. There are plenty of people who need something – food, a small
favour, someone to cook for them or someone who will teach them a new language. Just find the right niche for you.

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Don’t do everything at once because you will feel tired and demotivated and you will burn quickly.
Set a goal, start from changing your diet, so then you will have the strength and motivation for the exercise. Having the right diet and exercising? Good, after the exercise your brain is oxygenated and it’s easier to think, so take a moment to rest and write about those things you’re grateful for.
Standing in a long queue for lunch or coffee? Don’t waste your energy on being angry and impatient – invest it into the mindfulness meditation. Focus on your breath. Deepen it. Focus on the lovely smell of the food and coffee and savour the thought that you will indulge in them in a moment. Taken care of yourself already? Feeling motivated? Perfect – now’s the time to do something good for other people!

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