Top 5 Ways To Cure The Winter Blahs

With limited sunlight and sub-zero temperatures, the long months of winter can be taxing on the body and mind.  Try these all-natural remedies to lift your spirits and make the winter season a little warmer.

1. Get cooking.  

Make a big pot of healthy soup and invite some friends to come over for a bowl.  In winter, we tend to eat heavy comfort foods that leave us feeling sluggish. Making a lighter meal with plenty of vegetables will boost energy and help the immune system fight off those seasonal colds.  There’s no shortage of soup recipes to inspire you.

If you know others who enjoy baking, set up a cookie exchange group.  Each person makes a large batch of their favourite cookie dough and gives one roll to every member of the group. Open the freezer and voilà: a variety of fresh homemade cookies ready to pop in the oven any time.  Try festive recipes like cranberry pistachio biscotti or chai biscuits and enjoy with a cup of mulled apple cider or chili and spice hot chocolate.

2. Light up your life.

Ever have a hard time getting out of bed in the winter?  This problem is often caused by a lack of light. Our bodies’ natural response to darkness is to slow down, so one simple way to wake yourself up is to turn on bright lights in the morning.  For those who need a serious jumpstart to the day, you can even simulate dawn using full spectrum light bulbs.

In the evening, light up the room with scented candles, and warm up in a bubble bath with spicy essential oils like cinnamon, ylang ylang, vanilla and sandalwood.  If you have a fireplace, this is a great way to save on heating costs and create a cozy atmosphere.  No fireplace?  Try the next best thing, a free screensaver of a crackling fire.


3. Go outside and play.

Scraping ice from the windshield, shoveling, and driving in slow road conditions…it’s easy to let the mountains of snow get you down. Skip the car or bus, bundle up, and go out on foot.  Getting some fresh air and exercise will help invigorate you and increase circulation.  Go for a brisk walk, snowshoe, go skiing, or try figure skating in the beautiful Old Port.

For those who enjoy the spa experience, going to a Scandinavian spa is one of the boldest and most satisfying ways to face the winter head on.  Dare your friends to dunk in an icy river at Polar Bear Club.

4. Entertain yourself.

Make some popcorn, curl up on the couch with your partner, your pet, or a fluffy blanket and watch an old classic or a comedy film.  Studies have shown that people who read are generally happier than people who watch TV, so skip the reality shows and pick up a good book.  Music can provide you with an instant pick-me-up – try putting on snappy jazz, or something that gets you moving like hip hop, or salsa.

Here are a few ideas to help you combat boredom and cabin fever:  call an old friend and ask them how they’re doing, work on a new skill like knitting, or learning a language, trim and water the house plants, give yourself a manicure, clean out a drawer, research a topic that interests you, plan your next vacation.  The possibilities are endless.  Winter weekends are perfect for hibernating and starting on those new hobbies or finishing projects that you’ve been putting off.

5. Give.

The holiday season is a great time to reflect on the year, and make a list of the things you are grateful for.  Taking a few minutes to appreciate the positive things in your life will significantly improve your mood.  Take an emotional inventory and make a list of the important things you would like to do in the new year.

The holidays are also a perfect time of year to give to those less fortunate.  Donate old mittens and sweaters, help organize a food drive, volunteer your time for a cause you care about.  Even the smallest acts of kindness can warm many hearts so take the time to write a thank you note, or shovel the neighbour’s walk.  All you have to do is hang a bird feeder outside your window and you’ll soon be reminded how giving brings even more beauty back into your life.