Canadian winters can feel like a long slog, causing many people to find themselves experiencing boredom. Let us help you and your family beat the winter blues with these easy, inexpensive and fun ideas to help elevate your mood and make you more productive.
• Get more sunlight: With the shorter days of winter, there may be less opportunity to enjoy the daylight. Getting more direct sunlight may help improve your mood. Try leaving your curtains and blinds open as long as possible, take a seat closer to the window, take a walk at lunchtime or participate in as many outdoor activities as possible. Another option is using light therapy through the winter months, such as with a light box or dawn simulator (but get guidance from your doctor first to be sure this is an effective and safe option for you).
• Travel more: Even the act of planning a vacation has been shown to boost happiness. Get inspired by going somewhere sunny, or book a mini-vacation closer to home if a far trip is beyond your budget. For PC Financial Mastercard® cardholders, PC travel services can help you plan your perfect winter getaway.
• Change up your routine: Get yourself out of a rut by making new and different choices for yourself. It doesn’t need to cost much — or anything at all. Take a different route to work, try a new recipe or restaurant, sign up for volunteer or charity work, redecorate your home or even just move your furniture around. Read, watch or listen to something you wouldn’t normally choose. Swap screen time at night for a good book or a hot bath. Break the ice and reach out to someone new at work or a neighbor you’ve never spoken to. Join a club, learn a new skill or hobby, take a class and fire up your creativity.
• Pet a pet: One of the easiest mood boosters for winter might be underfoot already. Interacting with dogs, for example, may help lighten your mood.
• Get social: Fight the urge to hibernate because isolation is one of the worst choices for fighting the blues. Instead, tap into your social network of friends and family. Plan a party, go out with an old friend for coffee or dinner, have someone over to watch a funny movie and share some laughs. Avoid stress by making sure you plan something you’ll look forward to.
• Eat well: You may have an uncontrollable urge to indulge in comfort food at this time of year, but that may not be the kind of diet that keeps you feeling energetic and motivated. Studies aren’t conclusive about the link between mood and food, but a nutritious, balanced diet will certainly contribute to higher energy levels. Foods thought to increase serotonin levels include fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, egg yolks, and vitamin D-fortified foods. And don’t forget about water… you still need to drink plenty of it, even in cold weather.
• Exercise: Staying active and exercising may help relieve stress, lessen symptoms of depression, boost self-esteem and release feel-good endorphins. For a double mood boost, exercise outdoors during daylight hours, weather permitting. You don’t need an expensive gym membership – here are some ways to save money on your workouts.
• Get your rest: A lack of sleep may negatively impact your mood and raise the risk of irritability, frustration, poor work performance, depression and anxiety. Prioritize a regular sleep regime that includes enough hours of shuteye each night and a soothing bedtime routine. Use an alarm clock if you need it to wake up on dark mornings. Find out more about good sleep habits here.
• Start a gratitude journal: Focusing on the positives in your life makes for a happier you. Purchase an inexpensive journal and start recording all the good things and silver linings in your life. Gratitude is a skill you can practice and get better at, not a personality trait.
General information not about PC Financial products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC Financial does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.