Posted on: January 1, 2015
Posted by: Brigitte Diem-Guy, Vice President Sales & Marketing, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
It’s January. The Holidays are over and the fun times with family, friends, too many cookies and eggnog are almost a distant memory. As you look up from your desk, it’s practically dark outside. You check the time and then you check it again: Really? It’s only 10am? Did somebody turn the lights off?
Welcome to living on the West Coast and the gloom of winter months. I’m not saying Vancouver isn’t the most beautiful city and I guess memories of living in Ontario and literally lying in wait for the snowplow driver who kept burying my freshly shoveled driveway to give him a piece of my mind should make me feel better.
But if you feel like me and the rain and winter is slowly squeezing the daylight out of you, we both have a case of the Winter Blahs.
We could just cave and eat all the leftover cookies, gnarl at co-workers all day and watch TV until April but then our symptoms would just get worse. And who wants to deal with trying to lose the extra pounds we gained from hibernation in time for bathing suit season?
Let’s shake these Winter Blahs off! Here are 5 easy tips that will boost your mood:
- Don’t be a Couch Potato
Exercise isn’t only for getting rid of those pesky extra few pounds we put on over the holidays. It’s great for relieving stress and helps your mind by releasing those “feel good chemicals” that improve your mood. So put on your coat, boots, hat and scarf and go for a 20 – 30 min. brisk walk every day. And for good measure, here is some of my 90-year old father’s wisdom for you: “Rain makes you young and beautiful”. Umbrellas are optional!
- Orange is the new Black
Karl Lagerfeld may disagree with me but wearing black for 6 months of the year is just no fun. Wearing some bright colors in the winter lifts our mood and perhaps even makes your co-workers perk up. A brightly colored scarf is sometimes all it takes to make us smile.
- Ditch the Processed Foods and Carbs
Refined and processed food, including sugar, zaps your energy level and can affect your mood. Eat plenty of whole grains (brown rice or whole wheat bread), vegetables, fresh fruits and protein in the form of fatty fish high in omega 3 fatty acids (Salmon). Also limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. I know what you are thinking: Now she took all the fun out of my life! Not to worry: As a Swiss, I recommend eating a SMALL piece of dark chocolate with high cocoa content every day. Dark chocolate can be a powerful source of antioxidants and may keep your cravings in check.
- Get Some Sun or Vitamin D
Gloomy and dark winter days with less sunshine can lead to lower serotonin levels and an even lower mood. Your body produces vitamin D via your skin after exposure to the sun, which means your levels can become low in the winter months – and adequate vitamin D levels have been found to help lift your mood during the winter.
You can take a daily vitamin D supplement or if you can’t afford to fly to Mexico for a week, try some light therapy using blue light which is plentiful outside.
- Don’t be a Hermit – Socialize!
Turn that TV off and call a friend, join a yoga class or volunteer. Make a point to plan a few special outings in January or February and note them in your calendar. The great advantage of living in the land of Hockey: Almost every city has an ice rink – enjoy a day with family or friends skating. Even a long weekend “staycation” in your city can boost your happiness – many Canadian hotels have winter weekend specials.
Finally: Whenever you find the Winter Blahs are taking over, remember: Spring is not far away!
How do you deal with the winter blues? Send us your tips!