Ever feel like you need a little mid-season boost after the holidays?
During the final quarter of the year, we are celebrating with lights and laughter, spending time with loved ones,and generally engulfed in joy and cheer. Then, with the New Year resolutions and “new year, new me” vibe, we all have these great plans and ideas and excitement about the coming year.
By the time February starts, I’m exhausted. And sometimes that unmotivated slump lasts for a good month or two. I tend to slide into feeling like I just want to curl up and watch Netflix or go to bed altogether at 6pm. There are projects I want to tackle, events I want to attend, but I don’t have the energy. I feel like I ran a marathon, but starting that “Couch to 5k” program is still on my To Do list, so I’m pretty sure it’s not that.
Nontheless, I feel tired and in a funk
Some years, if I didn’t catch it soon enough, then by March I was not only tired, but I was also frustrated because all my “new year, new me” habits weren’t happening. I’d sink further into that self loathing and depressive slump that doesn’t exactly put me in the mindset to tackle and conquer my big goals, let alone motivate me to take a shower and change my pj’s on the weekends.
Instead of getting down on ourselves for failing at our New Years Resolutions already, have some grace and accept that the year has just begun. There are many more days left to continue and grow in your journey. Start by leaning into becoming your authentic self, and snap out of the funk by taking action.
Boost Your Happy Brain Chemicals
Here are some things I have found that helped me re-direct that creeping seasonal funk and snap back to positivity and productivity. By naturally boosting the serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and other feel good chemicals in the brain, it seemed more do-able to tackle the other goals I had, not just get through the day.
This list is full of easy things that don’t require a lot of time or money. However, if these mindset boosters don’t work for you, I fully support seeking help for depression and things like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from trusted professionals. There is no shame in letting others help you in your journey to your best self.
Without further ado, here are 5 simple and healthy ways you can boost your mood and combat that mid-season funk!
Shut Up and Dance!
Silence that inner monologue that’s being negative or lazy and crank up some feel good guilty pleasure playlist and dance like no body’s watching! (Even if someone is watching, it will probably spread some joy to them too!)
I love driving and turning up my favorite Spotify jams and just having a private dance-party-for-one in my car for a minute (or 10) to de-stress, boost my confidence, or blow off some frustration. My dog even knows when I turn on some Britney Spears in the home office it means we are flailing around in a crazy circle for a few minutes to some bouncy beats. He has no idea why, but he’s happy to jump up and join in.
Music has been shown to affect brain activity and increase dopamine levels – the king of mood enhancers. As a bonus, jumping around like a jovial sprite burns calories – increasing the balance of happy molecules flooding your brain and boosting metabolism.
Get Some Sunshine, Even if It’s Not From the Sun
Some of us live in areas where the sun is pretty elusive for long periods of the year. In Colorado after about October I go to work in the dark, and come home as it’s getting dark. I don’t see Mr. Sunshine much, and when I do he’s usually sulking behind the clouds and wind.
But the Vitamin D we get from the sun is essential to being able to properly utilize a lot of other vitamins and minerals. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to fatigue, muscle pain, and depression among some other more serious issues like bone loss and impaired body tissue healing. So it’s important to still get your daily dose, even if Mr. Sunshine isn’t cooperating.
Fatty fish seafood are among the highest sources of natural vitamin D in foods. You can also add some mushrooms or egg yolk to your normal meals. Fortified foods and supplements are also good options so you can make sure you are reaching your recommended intake.
You can even try helping your body produce and circulate more vitamin D by mimicking the sun with UV light therapy. These are not the same as a tanning bed, these lamps emit the non-skin damaging UV-B spectrum which has been shown to stimulate Vitamin D production.
Add Some Oils to Your Life
When I was a kid, the only people that talked about Patchouli and coconut oil were hippies living in communes or fanatics trying to convince the world our over-processed foods were “dangerous”. Turns out, they weren’t all crazy and essential oils have become more mainstream. These little drops are full of the essence of natural holistic miracles, in my opinion.
Add a few drops of Lemon or Peppermint to your diffuser as a light pick me up and room freshener, especially when it’s cold out and we have to keep the windows and doors closed.
Feeling fatigued? Rub some drops of Frankincense, Lemon, and Bergamot into your palms and apply to your chest or back of your neck.
Not sleeping well? Before bed massage Lavender and Chamomile into the souls of your feet.
Oils are a simple and natural way to boost mood, combat environmental stressors, and help your body operate at it’s best.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
When the days seem to run together and we feel tired and underwhelmed, it’s hard to have the energy to do things we enjoy on top of the To Do lists. But one thing that always lifts my spirits and reminds me every day that it was a good day is my journal.
I try to write down 5-10 things every day that made me smile, that I am grateful for, that made my day better. Doing this redirects your brain and that inner monologue to focus on good and happy thoughts.
Just the act of bringing those happy moments back to the forefront of your brain triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin. Thinking of happy moments in your day literally increases your happiness again.
Last but Not Least, Eat Some Dark Chocolate!
My favorite healthy happiness hack – dark chocolate! The good stuff, the rich melt in your mouth savory dark chocolate that is a dose of sheer bliss in your mouth.
Yeah, that stuff that all women crave – is actually good for us! In reasonable quantities, and if it is of good quality and not full of milk and sugar, of course. The benefits of dark cocoa have been known for centuries in almost every culture around the world.
So enjoy a piece or 2 of that dark smooth goodness. You’ll be happy knowing you are also providing your body much needed antioxidants, endorphins, free radicals and more. The elements in dark chocolate help combat depression and fatigue, improve brain function, protect and improve skin and body tissues and so much more.
Like any of us needed an excuse to break off a chunk of dark chocolate almond bar, but now you can do so knowing you are giving your brain a healthy boost of all the right things.