by Matt Gregory
When you consider the fact that sunlight is one of the best ways to increase your serotonin levels, it will come as no surprise that the winter months, with shorter, darker days, can lead to a lower mood than usual.
The holidays themselves can be an emotional time, too; there is a lot of pressure to spend, to be out with family and friends and having fun that can have a detrimental effect on those that may be struggling with loneliness, money worries or are unable to see loved ones as much as they would like, if at all. If this sounds familiar, then do not despair because there are so many things you can do that will easily help elevate your mood in next to no time.
“The way to health, harmony and happiness is primarily mental”
– Grenville Kleiser, from ‘Inspiration and Ideals’
Self-care is one of the best ways to instantly lift your mood when the cold weather starts to get you down. Making plans to curl up with a good book under a blanket and enjoy your favorite hot drink is a great way to self soothe these feelings away. Alternatively, you could pamper yourself with a leisurely bath to help relieve the stress and tension of your day, book yourself in for a massage or hair cut or make some time for exercise. Make some ‘me’ time to really reconnect with yourself and feel good within yourself.
Pay it Forward
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try and cheer someone else up”
– Mark Twain
One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your personal happiness is to pay it forward. Any form of charity, whether it’s simply buying a coffee for someone in need or giving to charity as part of your everyday life – such as the compulsory zakat donations made by Muslims, culminating in the – can lift your mood in a way like nothing else does.
However you choose to pay it forward – donating to a local food bank, baking cookies for the neighbours or offering support for a friend in need – it costs nothing to be kind, but the rewards are endless.
Do more of what makes you Happy
“If you want to be happy, be”
– Leo Tolstoy
Sometimes, life can get stressful and we forget about the little things that help us feel more aligned with ourselves and ultimately, bring joy to our lives. Listening to our favorite music and having a singalong, reading an old classic, going to the gym, taking the dog for an extra–long walk, writing, baking, prayer… there are so many things that make us happy that can get lost along the way when life gets a little hectic. Taking some time to do more of these things is a great way to boost your happiness.
Take up a new hobby
“I am not young enough to know everything”
– Oscar Wilde
Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby can be overwhelming at the best of times, especially if you have been putting it off for a while. Overcome your fear and embrace learning – the that you receive in return will be more than worth it.
Take that pottery class, learn a new language, teach yourself coding or knitting – whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do – seize the day and watch the smile creep back on to your face in the process.
Leave negativity behind
“Laughter is the sun the drives winter from the human face”
– Victor Hugo
Letting go of negativity in your life is one of the greatest ways to . That being said, it isn’t an easy thing to do, and it’s something that needs to be worked on over time. Bad habits can be broken, though – with a little persistence and practise. Create positive endorphins and improve your physical and mental health by exercising more regularly – and this will put you in a great mindset for kicking those bad habits.
Letting go of anger, not holding grudges, not partaking in gossip, focus on the positives in every situation, and appreciate everything that you have. Remove drama from your life, recite positive affirmations and set achievable goals. Rest well, eat well, be more productive. Lastly, learn your limits and when to say no. This is a process but one that you can start right now!
By taking just a few positive steps, you could be reaping the rewards this winter. Not only that, but these are things that will stick with you long after the snow has melted and the sun is back in our lives.