Feeling blue? You’re not alone.
After the Halloween hype is over and the days get shorter, winter blues awaits as our bodies get ready to hibernate.
Don’t despair! We’ve got your back with these three easy tips to capture the winter light in superhero style…for you and your babes alike.
1. Boost Your Mood with Food
With the darkness of winter upon us, soaking in as much vitamin B, D, protein, iron and omega-3s will trick your body into summer sass even on the coolest of cold days.
Bananas: Packed with B6 vitamins and potassium, this power-food will take care of tense muscles from holding on to the cold while activitated your “feel happy” neurotransmitter. Add them to cereal, smoothies, muffins, cakes or oatmeal for an extra boost.
Oatmeal: The warmth of oatmeal in the morning keeps you and your kids healthy and nourished til lunchtime. Go for large-flake or steel-cut to pack on the goodness, and have a mini “toppings” buffet of cranberries, coconut flakes, flaxseeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, raisins, bananas, apples or chia seeds for them to sprinkle on top!
Eggs: Packed with everything we need, eggs are the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner super food. There is nothing more cozy than a good portion of bacon and eggs on a dark stormy night to invite a little sunshine and smiles into the room.
Avocado: Another nutrient rich versatile friend, these babies can be a delicious breakfast snack on toast, cut into salads, made into guacamole or eaten by the spoonful. Particularly rich in B vitamins, they help us wake up and keep our blood sugar (and mood!) stable.
White Beans: Maybe a hard sell on their own but puree them up with some butter and cheese for a lunchtime veggie dip and it’s sure to be a hit!
Cheese: A small cube of cheese can keep the doctor away! Rich in calcium cheese can help lower stress and anxiety levels and be a complete happiness enhancer! Add it to eggs, toast, noodles, wraps, crackers – you name it…cheese can help us feel good anywhere, anytime.
Lentils: Delicious with some European wieners or as a soup, lentils are rich in fibre, protein and minerals that hug your body from the inside on a cold winter day.
Dark Hot Chocolate: Your kids will be in shock that you offer delicious hot cocoa to warm them up after school! Dark unsweetened chocolate sends feel good vibes to our brain and helps us see the winter world in a more positive light. Look for 70% cocoa for the most beneficial boost.
Salmon: An easy and quick baked or barbequed meal, the omega-3s keep your brain and body happy. Toss it with mayo for salmon sandwiches or serve with rice & dill, and your mood will improve with very bite.
Spinach: Without sun rays our mood and skin tone can look a little bland. Add iron deficiency to the mix and our pale look quickly reflects our pale mood. Adding spinach to your omelette, smoothie, salad or evening veg can increase your energy levels anytime of day and keep the winter darkness outside only.
Check out the Food Network and Good Morning America for more great tips and recipe ideas!
2. Play Hard to Beat Winter Blues
Did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression caused by lack of sunlight? It actually affects about 18% of Canadians. Even if we don’t suffer from SAD directly, winter has a way of wanting us to stay in bed and hibernate under the covers until the warmth returns.
When even the promise of hot coffee or oatmeal isn’t enough to free you from your covers, here are four ways to fill up on the bright side of winter.
Get outside: Bundle up and tap into #CanadaChat for great ideas on how to enjoy our winter wonderland. Then, head outside like the Norwegians and take winter as a time to huddle up with friends and family around an outdoor fire or a winter cabin.
Get your tribe together: Chances are you aren’t the only one hunkering down in the darkness. Share your light and bring light to others with some great get-togethers. Whether volunteering together or meeting up at the pool for a sauna, having a pub-ukulele night or inviting your kids’ friends for an after-school snack, invite the winter spirit inside and bring your tribe together.
Get cozy: Can’t bear the cold outside? Enter hygge. It’s a Danish word that captures the wholesome joy we feel when sipping a hot drink and watching snowflakes softly fall from the window. It’s tapping into the warmth on the inside despite the cold on the outside. Whether it’s a good book, a puzzle, family game night, a cuddle in front of the wood-burning stove, a candle lit dinner or an indoor family picnic, favourite family baking recipes, get your loved ones and cozy up for some “hygge” basking.
3. Be Seen in a Brighter Light
Even daylight savings can’t save us from the looming darkness inside and out. Bring in the light with these easy tips to brighten your space:
Make your environment brighter: Open all the curtains and blinds, change the light bulbs for a higher watt (when safe to do so), and dust off the bulbs to maximize their brightness. Trim back hedges and tree branches, and find a spot in the morning that invites a ray of sunlight on your face first thing. Anything that can bring more light into your world will boost your mood.
Turn on the tunes: A 2013 study showed that good beats improve our mood in both the short and long term. Having a stressful morning with the kiddos? Put on some groovy summer tunes and shimmy your way through breakfast and lunch-making with a power-dance party first thing. Put together a playlist with anything bound to get your inner beach bunny and family funkiness awake and thriving.
Chase the sun: Even if you only have a few seconds (which most of us only do in the busy morning bustle), sneak and soak up some rays of sun as soon as you can. A chilling fresh breath of air in your robe and slippers combined with bright sunlight to ever-so-slightly kiss your face helps you wake up, rise up, and hold on to your light for the day.
Brighten up the white: What fun it is to play in the snow with brightly colour squirt bottles. Fill them with food colouring and feel the joy when snow mounds turn into rainbows! Brightening the yard will surely brighten the mood for the whole family! Want to continue with the fun? Send the kids on a winter scavenger hunt while you watch the fun with mood-boosting afternoon dark chocolate hot cocoa.
What ever you do ... always remember to PLAY HARD and BE SEEN.