I don’t know about you, but my moods tend to follow the weather outdoors. And when it gets really cold and I don’t spend much time getting fresh air and natural vitamin D, I can easily get cranky. Here are ways to get out of that bad weather funk and get a healthy pick-me-up when you need it most.
Get Proper Sleep
Aim for at least eight hours of sleep a night. Naps may also be in order. Sleep deprivation not only leaves us feeling moody, but it also weakens our immune systems, leaving us more prone to getting sick. On the flip side, make sure you’re not getting too much sleep or are having a hard time getting out of bed. If this sounds like you, keep reading below for more tips. Or if you struggle with depression, it may be time to see your doctor or therapist.
You don’t need to train for a marathon, but getting 30-minutes of exercise a day is optimal. Especially when we aren’t feeling that great, it’s tempting to become a couch potato. Do you best, though, to commit to getting up and moving around. Personally, I love power walks, hikes, and yoga.
Revamp Your Wardrobe
Within budget, consider adding a few fun pieces to your wardrobe that are outside your norm. For me, it’s all about the boots, coat and scarf. I can live happily in comfy skinny jeans and a high quality colorful T-shirt. But if I’m going to feel fashionable, I really want to be wearing great boots, a fun trench or warm coat, and a colorful scarf. There are great deals out there. A few weeks ago, I purchased a leopard print trench coat for under $75, a pair of over the knee black boots with a bit of heel for $100, and several colorful scarves under $15 each. Now if only the heat would go away so I rip off the tags and go out in public in them!
Eat Nutritious Foods
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and whole foods. Limit your intake of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods. Some of the foods that help stave off depression include fish that contain Omega 3 fatty acids (like wild salmon and sardines), nuts and seeds (like pecans, cashews, almonds and flax seeds), olive oil, chickpeas, brown rice, dark chocolate and some teas.
Chronic stress suppresses the immune system. It affects sleep, too, which then becomes a negative spiral—less sleep, means more stress, which means less sleep, which means more crankiness. What to do? There are ways of managing life’s challenges, which include meditation, spending time with close friends and family, and exercise. Seeing a therapist, joining a support group, or attending activities that you enjoy also helps manage stress levels. Additionally, massage, yoga and hot baths are also great stress-relievers. I really can’t think of too many more stress-relievers than my Bikram yoga class, playing with my neighbor’s puppy, cuddling up with my cat, or time at the spa getting a massage. Since getting cancer, I am more willing to indulge and feel less guilty for doing it. This was a huge mind-shift for me (and a welcomed one, I have to say).
Build Positive Relationships
Those who have fewer friends and spend more time alone have much higher levels of stress, depression, and feelings of sadness than others. Refrain from becoming isolated and do activities that keep you actively involved with those around you. A close friend of mine starting volunteering in her community. She plays the piano at a retirement home once a week and has made amazing connections with some of the residents. She also takes her children to brush horses at a rehab farm near their home. She finds that her bouts of sadness and depression of diminished immensely.
Life for us single moms can become very “heavy” and serious. This is perhaps when we need to have fun more than ever. Take a vacation (with or without the kids), watch a funny movie, engage in retail therapy, or try a crazy new hairstyle. Our children will benefit immensely when they sense our own calmness and joy. It’s not always possible, but we can strive for that, right? Try swapping out your tired bedroom linens for something fun and fresh. Change the color and style of your hair. Or do something with your kids that are outside the norm, like jump on the trampoline together.
Breathe Good Air
Invest in a good air purifier for your home or at least your bedroom. Dirty air suppresses our T cells, which are important to our immune system. I purchased a good purifier on Amazon for under $100 that takes up very little space in my bedroom. I also diffuse essential oils, like lavender– both of which help me feel calm and peaceful.
Get Out Of The House & Try Something New
It’s tempting to stay indoors, grab a pint of ice cream, crawl into bed, and watch a movie. But don’t do it (too often)! Grab some friends and go out to dinner, listen to a live band at a bar, or simply catch a movie. Shake things up, learn to have fun again, and try something new. Not long ago, a friend of mine and I went to a dualing piano bar. I had never done that before and it was super fun. Who knew? I can’t wait to go back. The first time I ever went to Bikram yoga was because a friend of mine talked me into it. I tried it, I was hooked. Make a list of things you’ve never done but sound intriguing and pick something off that list. Next up for me? Hang gliding and a museum nearby. When I do the hang gliding-thing, I’ll be sure to write about it.
What makes me happier than the smell of freshly baked bread, or simmering garlic, or (best yet) chocolate chip cookies? Almost nothing! If it’s a really cold and crappy day and you must stay indoors, it’s time to bake and indulge. Tomorrow you can make up for it by working out and recommitting to eating no sugar.