5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

A couple weeks ago I found myself stuck on the holiday roller coaster haze. Stressed out about having to get gifts, my disappearing time, and lack of self care, I recognized it was critical for my health and mental well being to implement some simple steps to decompress. 
It was a good reminder that even though seasonal change is inevitable, your mood doesn’t have to be! 

Many people feel more melancholy this time of year, but you don't have to! You can still carry over that peaceful glow you captured in the summer. 

If you are feeling the winter blues or just having an off day, these tips can help you feel better fast: 

1. Take a power nap. 

Taking a mini-snooze in the middle of the day isn't for lazy bones. Take note from the masters like Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci and Eleanor Roosevelt. These daytime snoozers got more brilliant work done by rehanging mid-day. Taking a mini nap can enhance performance and help you feel more balanced.

2. Snuggle with a pet. 

When life gets to be overwhelming, I always turn to my furry friend, my dog. Curling up with a fluffy fella has proven to reduce stress, blood pressure and depression. When you reach for a little animal love, your brain says, "this feels awesome," as it releases serotonin, which is the feel good mood stabilizer.

3. Help someone else.

If you are feeling down and out, stop pouting and put down the pity party and help someone else. Research shows that spending money on another person or helping them has greater impact on your own happiness than treating yourself. Next time you are at the coffee shop, buy a latte for your friend or coworker, help a blind person across the street, or simple call your mom and tell her you love her.

(Moms love to hear from their children, and research shows hearing a mother's voice helps us feel safe and secure.) When we turn ME into WE, we collectively feel better about our community and our place in the world.

4. Try something new. 

Getting out of a rut is usually the cure for a bad mood. Try something new and get out of your comfort zone for an easy way to stop worrying about how bad you feel. You can pull out your bucket list, or list of things you want to do before you die, and check off a few that look fun. 

Try a new yoga class, read a new book, volunteer for a community event, go to a cooking class or sky dive. Doing something you have never done before, but have always wanted to do, adds to your life experiences and makes you feel excited in the moment.  

5. Play. 

Must adults think that play is for children or only for indulgence but having fun is a mandatory for a well-balanced life. In fact, it's critical to play daily for mental creativity, health and happiness. When we play we feel a sense of freedom and satisfaction. 

We let down our defenses and we feel alive in the moment. Play can be as simple as playing games with loved ones, cuddling with a furry friend or taking time to meditate or do a yoga class for yourself.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Shannon Kaiser has been labeled a modern thought leader on the rise by CafeTruth. She is the bestselling author of “Find Your Happy, an Inspirational Guide to Loving Life to Its Fullest,” and the founder of the website PlayWithTheWorld.com, which was awarded Top 75 Best Personal Growth Websites and top 100 Self-Help Blogs on the internet by The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Connect on her author Facebook Page @Shannon Kaiser Writes or Twitter.

She left her successful career in advertising to follow her heart and be a writer, life coach, inspirational speaker, travel writer and author. She is a five-time contributing author to Chicken Soup for The Soul. Shannon’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, Good Day New York, and Inside Edition. She’s writing her next book The Mental Makeover (Berkley/ Penguin Random House 2015).