Arg, I am so done with winter! However, this is Wisconsin which means we will have at least another month of cold, sunless days. This time every year I swear I am moving south but then I remember I don’t have the courage to actually move south. So, to help me cope with my winter blues, I have researched some scientifically backed ways to help lift your mood and get you through this cold weather slump. If you feel the same way I do and need a little pick me up, keep reading!
Peppermint Tea– Do you know that feeling when you are chewing peppermint gum and take a deep breath of cold air? I love that exhilarating feeling! I kind of imagine that is what drinking peppermint tea is like for your body. Peppermint tea is full of antibacterial properties that help support the immune and respiratory system to keep you healthy. Winter after all is cold season and there is nothing worse than feeling like you are at deaths door. However, drinking one cup of peppermint tea a day can help keep the sniffles at bay so you can muster through until snow melts. Furthermore, peppermint tea has been shown to reduce stress levels through it’s anti-inflammatory properties. So, when driving in the snow, shoveling your side walk, or bundling up has got you feeling anxious or stressed, find a quiet spot and sip some peppermint tea and feel yourself relax.
Essential Oils– There is no argument that essential oils have a very powerful effect on the mind and body. Lavender is a very versatile essential oil that is known for it’s calming and soothing properties including helping to relieve anxiety and depression. You do not have to be diagnosed with depression to experience the benefits of lavender. Essential oils work by crossing the blood brain barrier and are capable of working directly on the areas of the brain responsible for feelings of sadness or anxiety. I personally add a few drops of lavender essential oil to unscented lotion and use it at night to help calm by busy mind. If you do not like lavender, there are plenty of other essential oils that help to relieve sadness or relax the mind. I started using Edens Garden essential oils and their website is a good resource for learning about essential oils and how to use them.
Exercise– There is a great quote from the movie Legally Blonde that helps to sum up this point, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” But all movie quotes aside, exercise has been scientifically proven to be just as effective as pharmaceuticals at reducing stress, anxiety/depression, and improving mood. Exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” chemical, in the brain and bind to receptors that help to diminish the sensation of pain and gives an overall feeling of pleasure. This in return helps to reduce anxiety and depression and exercise may also help to prevent those symptoms from returning. 30 minutes of exercise a day is all that is needed to start feeling better but evidence shows that even a 15 minute walk once a day could also provide some benefit. Some people think that exercise needs to be an intense cardio workout but in reality, doing any sort of activity that causes your muscles to contract and expends energy (like doing housework) counts as exercise. So find something you like to do and set some time aside every day to do it and you will soon start to shed those winter blues.
I hope these three strategies will help get you through what’s left of winter. I have started to implement all three into my daily routine and have noticed a difference in my mood. If you have a different strategy leave it in the comment boxes below and don’t forget to subscribe!