8 Ways to Stay Bright When It's Dark Out
As winter settles in, the days will soon get shorter and the temperatures will begin to dip, but don’t let the winter weather dull your shine. Here are eight tips to add to your daily routine to help you stay happy, healthy and bright even when it’s dark outside
#1 Rethink Winter by Slowing Down
Despite experiencing cold, dark and long winters, Scandinavian countries are consistently ranked the happiest countries in the world. Residents of these countries simply view wintertime differently and often see the winter season as a time to embrace the slower pace of life and retreat indoors for the ultimate level of comfort often referred to as hygge.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), winter is often referred to as the most yin of the seasons as it is a time for storing and conserving energy. Embrace the yin energy of winter and allow yourself to be still. During the holiday season, society tells us to continually strive and exert our energies by preparing for the most wonderful time of the year, but Mother Nature has another idea. Allow yourself to align with the energy of the winter season and contain your energy by slowing down and heading indoors to rest, relax and recharge your body while nourishing your mind and soul. Afterall, the energy preserving actions of winter will enable the seeds of spring to grow in the coming months ahead.
Tip: Although slowing down and embracing winter can help restore your own energy levels, if having an active social calendar helps you to stay bright, then be sure to reach out to family, friends and neighbors and hibernate together!
#2 Eat Fermented Foods
We learn more about the gut-brain connection every day, but one thing's for sure, they're strongly affected by each other and impact our emotions. According to Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, keeping your gut healthy by populating it with good bacteria, like those found in fermented foods have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Aim to incorporate fermented foods such as such as kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut into your diet a few times a week.
#3 Incorporate Foods that Contain Vitamin D
In the winter, sunlight is sparse, which can cause our vitamin D levels to dip, leaving us feeling fatigued and tired. To help increase our Vitamin D levels, Michalczyk recommends incorporating foods that contain Vitamin D like egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon and tuna.
#4 Avoid Processed Comfort Foods
Sure, we all crave comfort foods during those cozier months. It’s absolutely important to listen to your body, but be sure you’re doing so in a mindful way, opting for and nurture yourself with fresh foods that contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins such as dark leafy greens, colorful vegetables and fresh fruits like berries.
#5 Move More
During the holidays, weekly workouts are taken over by happy hours, holiday parties and Christmas cookie exchanges. According to Michalczyk, just 30 minutes of movement has the ability to increase relaxation, so when the holiday season starts to feel overwhelming, hit up your favorite class. Bonus if you can take your workouts outdoors or near a window to get some extra exposure to natural light.
#6 Add Green to Your Space
During the winter months, Michalczyk recommends getting an indoor plant for your desk or kitchen. Plants help to increase oxygen and purify the air so you'll breathe easier, which will help you to feel calm and relaxed during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Plus, it’s something pretty to look at reminding you that spring is not as far away as it seems!
#7 Stay Structured
Sticking to a regular routine including sleep-wake times, can help structure your day and keeps you feeling positive and productive. Although hitting the snooze button in the morning for an extra 20 minutes of sleep may feel good in the moment, do your best to stick to your normal routine so you can feel your brightest.
Don’t let the dark winter days get you down. Instead, incorporate these eight tips to stay bright during the holiday season.
Remember to tag us @SimpleMills so we can see how you stay bright during the dark days of winter!