By Kathy Pollard
Some people really struggle with feeling blah when darkness descends so much earlier. Here it’s getting dark around 4:30 p.m. so by the time it’s 8:30, it feels much later. It takes some getting used to! If the shorter days are getting you down, try a few of these simple tips and see if they help:
- Eat some citrus as it starts to get dark. The smell of citrus is a natural mood lifter. Grab a couple of cuties and enjoy the taste of sunshine.
- Take Vitamin D.
- Drink more water. You may not feel like drinking cold water when all you want is a hot cup of coffee, but your body really needs it. The last thing you need is to fuddle your brain with dehydration. Plus, your skin will thank you.
- Get outside for a bit everyday, no matter the weather.
- Keep moving! You may feel like hunkering down under a blanket but surprise your body by going for a walk or going up and down the stairs a few times. It will warm your muscles, wake up your mind, and is perhaps one of the best things for mental health.
- Try yoga. Find an instructor on YouTube that you like and just spend 15 minutes stretching your body. You will feel good all over.
- Cook with lemon and lime. Lots of wholesome foods (like chicken, fish, whole grains, beans, and all kinds of greens) taste wonderful topped with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
- Cook with green herbs and warming spices. Not only will they awaken your taste buds but they’re good for you, too.
- BRIGHTEN someone else’s day. A fun winter challenge could be to lift at least one person each day. Send a thoughtful text or card. Offer sincere compliments to the people you run across. Express appreciation. Do a small act of service. Surprise your spouse in a sweet way. It’s amazing how doing for others is a double blessing. It encourages them and ends up making you feel so good, too.
- Saturate your soul with SONshine. There are many Bible verses that will cheer you from the inside out. A quick Google search is a great starting point. You can search “Scriptures about light” or “Scriptures about shining.” For example, “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned” (Matt. 4:16). You could start your own “SONlight” journal by jotting down a verse each day.
- Pray. God knows, cares, and always listens.
- Smile! Besides, everyone looks better when they’re smiling. 🙂
- Sing. Especially hymns. They’re not just for church and will lift your heart.
For those struggling with clinical depression or anxiety, these tips aren’t meant to take the place of professional care and counseling. But I think they can serve as a little extra TLC to help you get through the challenging winter months.