Boosting your mood during the winter months
It’s the third week of January and almost hitting that one-third mark of the winter season. There’s sixty one days left until the official first day of spring in Canada, but who’s keeping count right?
With the days getting dark so early and the sun rising so late each day, it’s a struggle just to get up in the morning some days, let alone feel motivated. Instead of feeling bad and guilty about feeling down this year, we’re embracing our self-kindness attitude and taking small steps to lift us up again.
This week, we’re taking some time to share things that truly make us happy and lift our mood.
- Spending time with my sister or a close friend and letting the kids entertain themselves. It fills my tank to have someone I trust to vent to and seeing my daughter have fun and be a kid. A distraction from pandemic life!
- A long, hot, quiet bath. After my daughter is in bed and my husband is working in the office, I like to shut out the world for a bit and not think about anything. Water has always been soothing for me, I love watching and listening to waves, reflecting by a lake, floating on water, it’s all very calming for me and I try to do that whenever I can.
- This is totally opposite of the calming water I just mentioned but I love playing video games, maybe it’s the nostalgia from when I was a child where my cousins and I would have endless hours of fun playing together. It must be from all the adrenaline from my competitive nature.
- Then on the flip side, I like doing crafts and art projects with my daughter. We love making cute clay characters, painting and drawing together. I also recently learned how to decorate sugar cookies with my sister and these creative projects that allow me to focus and quietly create are things I really enjoy.
- Finally I have to mention food! It’s funny because my husband was trying to explain to my daughter what being hangry was the other night over dinner. When he got to the end of the explanation, he’s like and that’s why you don’t want to let yourself get hangry like what your mom does. Insert eye roll from me right at the moment. Granted he’s right, I sometimes get too preoccupied doing something and realize I’m way too hungry way too late. I really love food and there’s so much joy from eating a delicious meal, especially one I didn’t have to prepare myself. I also like treating myself to desserts, they bring me more joy than I like to admit. I mean, I could never hide how much I love strawberry shortcake or a good piece of hazelnut dark chocolate or london fog ice cream, really I could go on forever.
- Watching the boys play with each other and their friends brings so much joy. Being able to have a cup of coffee 3 feet away from the live action. Watching them having the best time of their lives with so much joy and laughter really fills my heart.
- Going for a walk outside. If I could pick one thing I’m so proud of accomplishing in the last 2 years, it’s falling in love taking my walks outside. I bundle up in the winter to the point where no one can recognize me unless you know the colour of my jacket. I usually try to set realistic expectations. If it’s a busy day then I aim for 15 min outside, and if it’s a relatively free day I aim to walk for 45 min or until I finish an episode of my favourite podcast. Which brings me to my next point.
- I love listening to music in general - in the car, the kitchen, office and living room, and I carry my earphones in my bag wherever I go. I put an earphone in my one ear while I go grocery shopping - it’s magical. I also started listening to audiobooks and podcasts during my long commutes in the GoTrain a few years back and I love it!
- Here are some of my favourite podcasts and episodes
- Smartless - Conan O’Brien Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes, do I need to say more? I burst out laughing in many of these episodes. The Conan episode is by far my favourite.
- The Happiness Lab Dr Laurie Santos talks about the science behind happiness and shares inspiring stories that may change the way you think about happiness. My favourite episodes so far are Emotions are Data So Listen To Them and A Silver Lining
- Unlocking Us with Brene Brown I love her approach to embracing vulnerability, and all her episodes are insightful but I’ve listened to her first episode of this podcast multiple times when I need a reminder to be ok with discomfort in doing things for the first time - FFTs
- Taking a long hot bath relaxes me, and I’m always tempted to watch or listen to a podcast while I’m in the water, but fight it off and keep quiet. I always bring a glass of water with me (some days a glass of wine as well). I recently discovered something wonderful. I crack open the window to let the cold air in while my body is submerged in the hot water. Your face is kept cool but your body is so warm under the water, it’s the best thing. You should try it!
- Last but not least, I love having a nice glass of gin and tonic, or a glass of wine to unwind at the end of the day. I noticed that when I drink too late at night it disrupts my sleep so I started having one a bit earlier in the day, and of course, drinking responsibly.
What are some small things you do to boost your mood? We’re always looking for ways to try different ways to lift us up when we’re feeling down. We’d love to hear from you, share us in the comment below!