If you live in colder climates, you might be experiencing the winter blues. As the days get shorter, it's easy to experience some sadness as moments in the sun get fewer. The sun gives us vitamin D, essential for health and well-being. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in the wintertime when we're getting less vitamin D and outdoor stimulation, so here are some helpful hints on ways you can beat those winter blues.

Paint your walls.

Bright colors are sure to bring happy thoughts to mind and light colors reflect the sunlight.

Get moving.

Exercise is essential year-round, but it is especially important in the wintertime because it releases serotonin in the brain. This release will give your that extra kick to beat those seasonal blues. Also, try to spend some time outside each day. Even if it is cloudy, the light will help.

Eat the right foods.

You might feel the need for sugary treats and drinks in the wintertime to boost your mood, but this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. It might give you a temporary high, but the low will be really low. Vitamin B and fish oils will help your body create serotonin. Make healthy carbohydrate choices that will also help your body create serotonin such as nuts, beans, lots of veggies and whole grains.

Get out of the house.

It’s easy to hibernate during the winter months, but it’s important to get out. You could also try picking up a hobby such as knitting or crossword puzzles to keep your mind focused.

Get a massage.

Getting a massage is not only a sure way to relax those tired muscles, but also calm the mind, remove toxins and release serotonin in the brain. You can also find a therapist near you that specializes in reiki (a method of touching thought to be linked to energy fields of the body) to get that energy flowing freely.

Use herbs to boost your mood.

Herbs have a long history of helping the mind, body and spirit naturally. Here are some that combat the winter blahs and stress, which deplete our bodies from the resources it needs to stay happy and healthy.

  • St. John’s wort is a great natural mood enhancer. This herb has been used for years to fight off depression, help you sleep and reduce stress. It can have side effects, but is typically safe.
  • Milk thistle helps remove toxins from the liver and also helps fight off depression.
  • Rose is a great aphrodisiac and can give you a nice energy surge throughout the day.
  • Lavender helps calm the mind and reduce stress.
  • Chamomile is great to drink before bed to help you get a restful night’s sleep. It also helps calm the mind and reduce anxiety and tension.

Remember to smile, breathe deeply and spend time with friends and family. Happy winter!