Don’t let the disappearing sunlight cast a shadow over your day. With short days and gray weather creeping up on us, it can feel like your emotional wellbeing has taken a sudden dive. But it’s important to remember that you are the master of your own mind. Don’t let that darkness in! Keep feeling perky and sunny inside by taking control and focusing on the little things that make you feel good. You could start by following these four simple tips each day.
1. Get up ten minutes early and s-t-r-e-t-c-h
Your mental and physical wellbeing are one and the same, or at least very closely entwined. Starting the day with exercise – even just a few minutes of stretching – will wake up your mind and get you off to a good start. A simple search for ‘morning yoga’ on YouTube will bring up lots of ideas for routines – pick your favorite and follow it for a few mornings.
Realistically, yes, it can be difficult to resist hitting the snooze button, especially on a dark morning. So start easy – just try it once. See what a difference it makes to start your day with movement before you commit to doing it every morning. It’s at least worth a try!
Did you know that the humble hug can lift depression, combat disease and boost self-esteem? Take every opportunity you have to hug the ones you love. The sensations of warmth and love are not only great feelings. They are nature’s way of healing mind and body.
The science behind hugging shows that it elevates levels of serotonin (the ‘happy’ hormone), dopamine (the ‘reward’ hormone) and oxytocin (the ‘bonding’ hormone). It’s also claimed that close hugs held for at least a few moments have a deep emotional impact because they press on the solar plexus chakra, the seat of our emotions.
3. Make nourishing choices
Cold days and comfort foods are old allies. The good news is, there are loads of comforting, warming, starchy foods that keep you in good shape throughout the winter. There’s no need to eliminate carbohydrates. It’s only the refined carbs (anything white) that will make you gain weight and feel lousy.
Top of the list for nutrition and ‘warm fuzzy feelings’ include freshly baked wholegrain spelt bread with almond butter and oven-baked sweet potatoes and root vegetable stew with lentils. Keep eating the rainbow to enjoy a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Green and orange vegetables are the most important at this time of year, and it’s no coincidence that nature gives us pumpkin, squash, kale, chard and spinach.
4. Acknowledge nature
Go outdoors! There’s a whole world outside brimming with natural treasures, and you don’t have to go trekking in the mountains to enjoy it. Notice the wildlife that makes its home in the most unusual places. Acknowledge the plants that continue bearing fruits and flowers in the most adverse conditions. Take a moment to look up and see what shapes the clouds are making, just like you did as a child. Remembering our connection to nature is deeply reassuring and only takes a moment.
Image Source: Ian Sane/Flickr