Janae, a.k.a. Hungry Runner Girl, has a post up today about ways to keep your mood elevated even on these dark, cold days of December. I realize that some of you live in places that are sunny and warm year-round, or at least where winters are milder than they are up here in the far northlands--and even that some of you who DO live in dark, cold places aren't bothered a bit, mood-wise, by it. My husband is a good example of the latter. (Unfathomable.)
But many people experience a scientifically-validated neurochemical/hormonal shift at this time of year that makes it hard to feel good on a regular basis. Why do you think the cliche of the dour, stoic Scandinavian ancestor exists? Listen, we came from dark and cold, we immigrated to dark and cold, we got up every day and did our daily work no matter how dark and cold. You didn't need to smile, you just needed to get up and do what needed to be done, you know? Eat a lot of heavy carbohydrates to generate your own heat while you're at it.
That's pretty much how people live up here today, too. Twenty-below-zero windchills? Yup. Dark before five p.m.? Mmm-hmm. Keep on keepin' on, friends, that's just how it is at this time of year.
And so it's good to have a list of things to lift one's spirits during the darkest and coldest days of winter, should such things be needed. Yes, it's holiday time, and much of that is very fun and happy, but it does not increase the amount of sunlight available to one's brain each day, nor how much vitamin D one's body is able to produce.
Hungry Runner Girl's mood-lifting list is a good one, including things like exercise, fun with family and friends, outdoor recreation, etc. I encourage you to go check it out.
In addition, I'd add a few things like: light candles once the sun starts going down, to make the house seem cozy; watch Christmas specials on TV with small children, preferably while sipping hot chocolate; drink ginger tea--it's good for you in many ways; read a good book; eat more protein than starch (protein will satiate you better and keep you more alert and awake); play your favorite music; take many bubble baths; get outside on sunny days especially, as much as you can; take your kiddos ice skating (as soon as the temp creeps up a bit, we are heading to our corner pond for the first time this season, and we can't wait!); volunteer with children, animals, or the elderly; unexpectedly deliver treats, a note, or a favor to a friend; eat some chocolate (Janae included this on her list, but I figure it can't be over-emphasized).
And now I'm off to exercise--not outside, because it's 15 below out there, but at least I'm moving my body. Right? Good luck, winter friends! Have a good day.