It’s the time of year to start setting (and smashing) those New Year health and fitness goals – but an obstacle course of SAD, January blues, chilly weather and M.I.A. daylight can take its toll on your commitment, making it one of the toughest times to stay on track. These factors can lead to fatigue, weight gain and depression, but luckily there are a few simple things you can do to recharge your mood, revive your motivation and stay one step ahead. Here’s how…
Get A Rise
No, not like THAT. But, studies have shown that waking earlier is a key factor in boosting your mood during the winter months. The most important external signal for the body clock is light, so maximizing your exposure to daylight hours – which means making the most of bright morning light – is a simple yet super effective way to combat low mood.
It may be an optimum time to crave comfort food, but staying strong and curbing the processed and refined carbs in favour of wholefoods will keep you sustained and prevent dips in sugar levels. Opting for foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, (such as turkey, tofu, nuts, seeds, oats and eggs) will also help boost the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain, too.
Research has shown that exercise during the daytime – whether it’s hitting the weights, a spin class, HIIT workout or getting outside for a walk or run – will not only boost serotonin but has proven to be equally as effective as light therapy for beating winter blues.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your mood is to get social. Not only has spending time with friends been proven to boost mood, but whether it’s a partner workout, walk in the park, cinema date or lunch, it also makes for a great excuse to get out and enjoy yourself.
Moderate to high-intensity exercise may rev up those endorphins, but yoga has been proven to be far superior when it comes to its effect on mood and anxiety. Just a few minutes of yoga practice each day can have a huge effect on your mood. From fighting stress and anxiety to upping your immune function– yoga’s ability to increase serotonin and decrease cortisol (better known as the dreaded ‘stress hormone’) means that taking a quick time out to incorporate a few moves into your routine can increase both your happiness levels and your overall wellbeing.Click here to see the benefits of adding yoga to your routine