By Amy Mason
Please learn more about Amy by visiting her website at www.amyemason.com.
Hi Mamas! Today we want to give you a mid-winter boost with some tips on improving your mood and beating the wintertime blues. As moms, it feels more natural to us to care for our families and our needs sometimes come last. However, in the middle of a cold and dark February in Chicago, I often found myself feeling worn out, empty, and frankly a little down in the dumps. Here are some tips for feeling your best even in the dead of winter.
1. Get enough sleep! Easier said than done right? Sleep is when our bodies heal. A new study recently revealed that our brains actually wash themselves at night clearing away toxins. You can see the study here . Sleep is essential for brain restoration. Our brains are the operation center for everything in our bodies - including our emotions. It makes sense that we give ourselves optimum time so our brains can regenerate, rest, and heal. So how do we do that? Here are a few tips: Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. Implement a calming bedtime routine to prime your body for sleep. Turn off electronics at least 1-2 hours before bedtime. Last but not least, make sure your room is as dark as possible. Getting more sleep can literally refresh the brain, thereby refreshing you!
2. Get 30 minutes of sunshine a day! Getting 30 minutes of direct sunlight is important for maintaining healthy hormone levels and circadian rhythms. If it’s not sunny, that’s okay, even being outside for a short walk is enough. In Chicago and other places where winter days are often cloudy, a sun lamp is another great option.
3. Stay connected. It’s tempting when the weather is cold to stay indoors where it’s warm and cozy. Make sure you make time to really connect with people who fill you up. Whether it’s your spouse, or a dear friend, relationships can help give us a sense of love and belonging. Touch is important too! Hug your kids! Hug your friends! Hug another Mama who needs it. This is another important way of staying connected.
4. Move your body. Even a few minutes of exercise can provide a major boost in your mood. Whether you can get outside for a walk or spend a few minutes doing yoga, moving your body is so important for our health and our moods. It doesn’t have to be as hard-core as a spin class. In fact, there is some evidence that moderate exercise is most helpful for hormone regulation. If you work, try switching to a standing desk or getting up and moving around every 20-30 minutes. Here is a fascinating article on both sleep and exercise.
5. Try a new scent! This last tip is the most fun. Smells have a powerful impact on our brains. Trying an essential oil, especially in the citrus family, can help boost your mood. Grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, and orange are all bright and sweet smells. Dilute if necessary and dab a little on your wrists or behind your ears. Put a few drops on a cotton ball and put it in your car. You can also diffuse it to make your house smell like summer. You can find great oils here and here .
Spending a little time to help you feel your best is one of the greatest investments of time you can make! It will help you have the energy to be a present and loving Mom to your precious kids.
Remember, Motherhood is a sisterhood. Let's get through these long winter months together!