Shorter days, colder weather, and dry winds can really take a toll on our mental health. Irritability, sluggishness, a lack of motivation, or just feeling "off" are common complaints during the winter months. For me, winter is the time I have to be most diligent about maintaining my mental health.
The good news is that I've learned how to hack my mindset during these blustery days. Numerous studies have proven that affirmations work—that we can trick our brain into feeling positive by actually saying positive things—and this rings true with many things: If our bodies demonstrate it, our brains will follow.
Have you ever forced yourself to do yoga when you really, really wanted to stay on the couch and never get out from under your blanket? You almost always feel better afterwards. It's getting there, showing up, that's the hard part. Because we talk ourselves out of it. But if we can just get there, our mind quickly forgets.
We can use this trick—getting our body to do the thing our brain doesn't want to do—to hack our mindsets and ward off the winter blues.
Here are my three favorite ways to hack your mindset and maintain your mental health during these shorter, colder days:
☀️Get outside. Shorter days mean less sunlight to boost vitamin D, which helps regulate dopamine in the brain. Sitting outside for 15-20 minutes a day (just enough to sip a cup of steaming hot tea) can do wonders.
💦Stay hydrated. Water is the single most important part of our body—and it’s even harder to stay hydrated in the dry winter days. How much you should be drinking? My advice is always more than what you are. I aim for at least a gallon a day. Yep, a gallon.
🧘Do some mindful movement: Walking, yoga, hiking, or anything that moves your body and gives your mind a break can totally transform your day. Some people find they need to slow down their movement routines in the winter, other people need to heat things up. I'm with the latter. I need the extra heat to keep me feeling good.
What helps you ward off the winter blues?