Once the excitement and energy of the holidays are over and we move into the second half of winter, it’s pretty common for people to develop seasonal depression. Between the cabin fever of being trapped indoors all day and the lack of sunlight, it’s pretty easy to catch a case of the winter blues. If you or your kids are starting to feel down this winter, don’t worry. There are a couple of great things you can do to help boost everyone’s spirits.
Here are some tips to help you beat the bummers and improve everyone’s mood.
Invest In A Sunlamp
During the winter months, even if you live somewhere that is warm all year round, there is less daylight. Sunlight is essential for a lot of our bodies natural process like the production of vitamin D and serotonin. Both vitamin D and the neurotransmitter serotonin are crucial to helping you feel happiness. A decrease in sun exposure can reduce your body’s ability to create these necessary biological responses and can in turn make you feel down in the dumps. A great way to get more sunlight when the sun is gone is with a sunlamp. Investing a sunlamp is a great idea to help lift everyone’s spirits. A few minutes a day in front of a sunlamp can make you feel world’s better. You can also buy sunshine lightbulbs that emit the same natural rays as the sun and just replace one of the lights in your home.
Get Plenty Of Exercise
During the winter, it’s pretty easy to become a couch potato. Your family can’t go outside and play. Many of the school sports don’t begin until the springtime. So you’ll just end up sitting around playing video games or watching television. However, exercise is very important for maintaining happiness. Exercise helps release the neurotransmitters endorphins which help boost your mood. So get up and get active. You can try some fun exercises at home. There are some great workout videos on YouTube that are designed just for kids. You can also consider joining a child-friendly gym or do a fun activity together like playing laser tag or go to an indoor trampoline center. No matter what you decide, you’ll all feel much better once you get up and moving!
Modify Your Diet
A healthy diet is important for all aspects of health, including mental well-being. There are many healthy foods that can help battle depression. Adding these foods to your diet can help lift your moods. Make sure to start be eating lean healthy proteins like chicken, fish, and tofu. These can help boost your alertness and energy. Then make sure you balance them with complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and beans. Simple carbs like candy and soft drinks can impact your serotonin levels and cause spikes and drops in mood. Finally make sure you eat foods that have tons of vitamin D like fish, cheese, and eggs and vitamin B like red meat, spinach, and bananas.
Try Mindfulness Meditation
A recent study at Johns Hopkins showed that mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation is easy and can be done anywhere for any length of time. Here are the steps to start meditation:
- Find a quiet comfortable spot to sit or lying down.
- Close your eyes.
- Breath deeply and naturally.
- Focus on your breath and how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
- As thoughts pass through your mind, focus on them.
- Do not react emotionally to any thought, just let it come and go.
Meditation takes practice. So it might be a little difficult to get kids excited about meditation at first. So make sure you start slowly by meditating for 2-3 minutes at first, then increase the time as they become more focused. If you need a little help making it more relaxing for everyone you can also listen to music and incorporate some aromatherapy oils.
Do Some Yoga
Another thing you can do to help everyone beat the blues is yoga. Yoga has been shown to reduce depression in 50% of practitioners and enhance a sense of well being in 65%. Yoga is a great combination of exercise and meditation, so it also has extra benefits. There are some great yoga programs for children. You can check out your local community center or gym to see if they offer any kid-friendly yoga classes. You can also do yoga at home together. There are some easy yoga videos on YouTube designed just for children. There are even yoga programs that mommies and babies can do together!
Schedule A Playdate
During the winter, everyone’s stuck indoors because of the cold weather. Kids who normally would be outside playing and socializing together, don’t get to see each other as much. A study out of The Royal Society found that children’s moods can be boosted by simply spending time with their friends. So it is essential that your kids get that time together with their friends. So make sure that you schedule regular playdates. Talk to your children’s friend’s parents and see if you can rotate hosting duties or consider getting the whole family together! Socializing with other parents will help lift your mood as well.
Winter can really be a bummer, especially for kids who are used to playing outside with their friends. Luckily, you can lift everyone’s spirits with these simple tips. Don’t let the winter months get you down, incorporate some of these strategies into your daily routine and everyone will feel better.