Winter can tend to be a moodier season for many people, especially further north where days are shorter and skies tend to stay gray for long periods of time, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay down if the winter blues are getting you down. A spa day or massage is always great for helping you feel better, but there isn’t always time to set up a visit, so here are five things you can do to start feeling better without even leaving the house.

 

Eat Right for Good Energy

Seasonal magazines go so overboard on tapping our fears of holiday weight gain that it can be tempting to skip meals, but that’s not really beneficial for weight maintenance and it is especially not good for your mental state. Skipping meals can result in low blood sugar, which can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.

If you are going to be eating a lot of high-calorie foods in the evening (or if you did last night!) it’s fine to go easy on the food through the day, but be sure to at least have a light breakfast and lunch that contain protein. Salmon is a perfect choice because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to increase dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that boost your mood according to Eatingwell.com.

 

Enjoy the Scents of Essential Oils

If you have an essential oil diffuser, top it off with a mood-lifting oil, but if you don’t have one, you can still benefit from these natural mood elevators. You can apply a couple of drops of oil to your pulse points or put it on your palms and rub them together to warm it up and really get the full effect. For a super-quick pick-me-up, you can just sniff it directly from the bottle!

Lavender is famous for being relaxing and calming so is an excellent choice if you are having anxiety. Peppermint, lemon and wild orange are noted for being uplifting, so are great for counteracting the blahs that can come from too much gray sky.

 

Move Your Body

When it isn’t comfortable to get outside, exercise can be less tempting, to the point where it often drops off the radar in the winter. That’s not only bad for weight gain but also leads to stiff joints and bad moods. The trick is to find ways to get some exercise indoors that you enjoy and make it part of your daily routine.

Yoga is a great one because it doesn’t require much space and there are a tremendous number of resources available online, on TV, and recorded on DVD. It’s easy to find a routine for every level of ability, and even a ten-minute routine can work your whole body.

If you don’t like being so controlled or have bad wrists, dance is another terrific option. You can learn a new skill or stay in shape for dancing if it’s something you’ve enjoyed in the past. There are all sorts of dance videos to get you started and, of course, you can just put on your favorite music and do your own thing.

 

Relax Your Mind With Meditation

Meditation has been around for thousands of years but has become so popular in our modern culture that “there’s an app for that” too. If you aren’t experienced with meditation at all, start with guided meditations where there is someone giving step by step instructions. There are all sorts of meditation practices available online and through apps, ranging from sitting silently or with just soft music in the background, to stimulating creative adventures in mental imaging.

 

Call a Friend

Spending time with friends is definitely a mood lifter, but you don’t have to be physically together to enjoy each other’s company. However, if you have friends who are out and about, dropping kids off, shopping etc., you can always invite them to stop by for a cup of hot tea or coffee or to join you for lunch.

If having someone come over isn’t convenient, you can call them on the phone. Whether they are far away or right in the same town, it’s always fun to set up “meeting for coffee and conversation” on a Saturday morning, when you are both cozy at home.

You can just talk by phone, or get fancy and Facetime if you have Apple devices, or video conference if you both have cameras (and almost all smartphones and laptops do these days.) It may be a little awkward at first, but once you get over the strangeness, seeing each other adds to the fun.

There are lots more ways to improve your mood, but these will get you off to a great start!