Here in Toronto, it seems like the sun has been missing for the last month, Life does naturally slow down in the winter months; it’s dark, it’s cold and it’s often snowing, which all lead to wanting to stay indoors. Decreased sunlight exposure results in decreased production of serotonin, which can negatively impact mood, appetite, sleep, memory and cognitive function. Lack of sunlight also results in decreased vitamin D levels, which can negatively impact immunity, mood, sleep and digestion along with many other critical functions in the body.
Here are a few things you can do which may help you feel better:
- Exercise – Aim to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week, and add stretching/yoga to your daily routine. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Get outside! Bundle up and enjoy a quick walk, preferably in the morning.
- Take care of your Body – get a massage or other body therapy. Healthy touch has been proven to lower cortisol and increase serotonin.
- Help Someone Else – The easiest way to get outside of ourselves is to help someone else. There are lots of places you can volunteer if you have time, call a friend just to see how they’re doing or buy a meal for someone in need. It has been proven that helping others releases endorphins, increases feelings of satisfaction and gratitude and distracts from our own problems. Read more here.
We still have a couple more months of winter – these tips should help you get as much enjoyment as possible out of them