9 Feel Good Tips To Help You Escape The Winter Blues

Nov 3, 2016

I promised to give you honesty on my blog so that’s what you’re going to get 😉

Last week and the beginning of this week I was feeling pretty down in the dumps! I don’t ever share it on my social media or in conversations with people as I want to be a positive influence in people’s world and spilling all your worries isn’t that uplifting, but sometimes it helps to be transparent and honest and share that each and every single one of us is human which means being filled with all sorts of emotions – positive and not so positive!

We all have our cycles where we feel up and on top of the world and other times where for no good reason at all, we feel down and just break down into tears. Well, this was me last week!! For those that know me or if you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while you’ll know this is most unlike me as usually you won’t catch me without a smile on my face and my first answer is yes, or how can I help? If you ask me how I am, 9.9/10 my response will be “really well thank you”, and I will genuinely mean it, even on a Monday morning which surprises a lot of people. I’m a positive, happy person, I love my life, I have incredibly supportive people around me and I love to surround myself with equally positive people.

Despite all of that, we can all have blips!

I’ve been reading a lot around the moon of late and how it affects us as humans and it’s so interesting. A great article from a good friend Kate which is all about the moon and how it affects our internal world is here. It’s well worth a read. I work with Kate with one of the nutrition companies I work closely with called USANA Health Sciences, and as wellness entrepreneurs, our paths crossed and I love the work she does.

So onto today’s tips for you, but I hope the above honesty helps you if you’re feeling low like I was 🙂 Give yourself a hug and know that it is 100% okay to not feel radiantly happy all the time! And blame the moon if you need to, that’s what I have done!

I don’t know about you, but my winter coat has officially come out, as has my scarf, my layers and my pink woolly hat! As we leave summer and go into autumn and soon winter, your mood may be suffering so I thought I would share a few strategies with you to help you during the colder months.

Food has the ability to help support us through these times when common winter illnesses such as colds, the flu, sniffles, coughs, chapped skin and the winter blues do the rounds. While there are heaps of over-the-counter medications to help treat and manage these conditions, there are so many more food-based options available to help. These can help address the basis of the problem rather than just the symptoms which is why I’m pro food as a lifelong strategy to keeping on top of our health.

Here are 9 feel-good tips to help you escape the winter blues.

1). FEEL GOOD FOODS

The most famous food for enhancing mood has got to be chocolate, but you might not know why it’s so good as a mood lifter.

Dark chocolate, in particular, is high in the amino acid tryptophan which is one of 10 essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Tryptophan goes on to make serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps the body regulate appetite, sleep patterns, and mood, so it’s instrumental to how we feel day to day.

Poor serotonin production has been linked to anxiety, depression, poor sleep, distorted eating and a whole host of other health challenges. Around 80 per cent of the serotonin in the body is manufactured in the gut, not in our brain, so the health of our digestive system is key for serotonin production. If you have poor digestion, getting to the heart of this and resolving the symptoms can have a significant impact on enhancing your mood as well as every other area of your health.

Tryptophan-rich foods include fish, other seafood, nuts, seeds, vegetables such as broccoli and legumes.

Eating a whole food diet rich in green vegetables and wholefood fats can make all the difference between feeling sluggish and heavy, or energised. It never ceases to amaze me every day the power a healthy diet can have on all aspects of life, in particular in enhancing mood.

2). GO FOR A STROLL FOR SOME VITAMIN D AND A STRETCH

As the sun’s action on the cholesterol in our skin is our primary source of vitamin D it is important to spend a little time each day exposed to the sun and to increase our food sources of vitamin D. These include some oily fish, organic butter and egg yolks.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for so many reasons; for bone health, immunity, cancer prevention and mood regulation. Its role in bone health is to support the uptake of calcium and phosphate, which are bone-strengthening minerals so to make you more sturdy on your feet, make sure your vitamin D levels are up to scratch. Over the winter months, we often find ourselves wrapped up warm with less exposure to the sun, except for our hands and faces. I know that’s been me this past couple of weeks already!

I also recommend that vitamin D is one of those nutrients you supplement with daily as in all my testing with clients, vitamin D is one of the nutrients that is notoriously extremely low and it is so instrumental to our health. Make sure your supplement is made to pharmaceutical grade which ensures the quality to you as the consumer.

3). GET YOUR BODY MOVING

Countless research shows that movement is the ultimate mood enhancer, but you only have to do it for yourself to confirm that’s the case! If you’re experiencing low mood or depression, get your body moving as the biochemical aftermath that happens post exercise with the production of endorphins, will totally change your internal state.

My top tip is to choose whichever exercise you love best and makes you feel happiest. It might be kickboxing, it might be dancing, it could even be going for a power stroll along the river. If you don’t enjoy the exercise you’re doing, it defeats the point of doing it as life is too short to do things that don’t bring happiness into your world.

The more muscle we have, the more energy-producing units the body has and the more energy potential we have. When we have better energy, we tend to be in a better mood so make regular muscle-building exercise part of your routine as we go into the colder months.

4). SURROUND YOURSELF WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE

It’s so natural to want to hibernate and tuck yourself up indoors. Whilst it’s nice to do that sometimes and appreciate it when it happens if you work from home as I do which or in a small office, it can be quite isolating at times and not the most sociable of situations.

Get your diary out and plan some meetups with friends, old and new, find a training buddy to workout with and surround yourself with people that are positive, fun, have great energy and are all round lovely people.

I came across this quote yesterday and I couldn’t agree more. “The power of the collective is quite extraordinary. When you have found the right collective, magic happens!”

The best ideas happen, the funniest and most meaningful conversations flow and life is full of smiles!

5). TAKE YOUR VITAMINS DAILY

When our body is fuelled at a cellular level and there are no nutritional deficiencies, we remove the kinks in our performance which can arise when our body doesn’t have the raw materials it needs to do the millions of reactions required to go on in our body every second of the day like detoxification, creating energy, healing and repairing. When our cells can communicate with one another optimally and there are the right nutrients, in the right form, in the right balance, it’s like switching on the ‘ON’ switch. When I don’t take my vitamins, I don’t have that shine and zippy energy, I feel like I’m functioning at a fraction of my potential and I really feel it. I don’t know what way to describe it other than it makes me lose my vibrant edge, so making that commitment to take them daily with my meals is really important so I’m constantly getting the nutrient bath my body needs. Set a reminder on your phone, keep them out on your breakfast table or wherever you have breakfast in the morning.

I use USANA Health Sciences for all of my vitamins as I trust them. They’re the world’s number 1 brand when it comes to quality and purity they’re used by 000+ Olympic and professional athletes who aren’t paid to take the products for these very reasons. They have a 30-day money back guarantee on all of their products which I like, that’s whether they’re used or unused so it gives you great assurance as the customer that you can try them risk-free.

I use their fish oil which is called Biomega and their Healthpak which is a handy morning and evening packet with my vitamins and minerals in so it makes it easy to take them when I’m travelling which is a lot these days, otherwise, I always forget to take them when they’re in individual containers.

Supplements supplement a great diet, they don’t replace healthy eating in any way, shape or form, but I wouldn’t go a day without them, knowing what I know about the human cell and the nutritional needs it has on a day to day basis.

You can order them from my online shop here and pay what I pay for them when you create a wholesale account which you can also do from my website 🙂

6). BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Life can get busy. In amongst the busy-ness, it’s important to centre yourself and remind yourself of how special you are and to look after yourself accordingly. It’s easy to lose sight of that and prioritise everything and everyone else and put yourself lower and lower down on the pecking order.

I am 100% guilty of this, of feeling overwhelmed at times and saying yes to everyone else but me, so this is still a work in progress for me, but I know when I feel overwhelmed this strategy turns my mind around.

Breath-focused practice like meditation, yoga or simply deep breathing and still for 5-10 minutes can help you to collect your thoughts.

Repeat calmly to yourself either out loud or in your mind: “Breathing in I am calm, breathing out I smile.” Practice this while you’re on a busy train or a bus on the way to work, allow yourself 10 minutes in the morning to breathe lovely long, slow breaths and recite this to yourself. When you start your day off in this calm and intentional way, your day will flow.

The second tip is to say at least one kind thing to yourself a day… the more the better! I know it can feel really awkward at first (it certainly was for me anyway), but look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and tell yourself what you love about you. Maybe you love your eyes, your kind soul, your infectious smile.

Whatever it may be, appreciate all you contribute to this world just by being you. Be your biggest fan.

7). DO SOMETHING KIND FOR SOMEONE ELSE

When we do something for a stranger, it fills us up with so much positive emotion. The times I’ve gone to buy a healthy food bar or a hot chocolate or a scarf and I’ve bought an extra one and given it to a homeless person, with a smile on my face, are the days I am filled with so much love, for myself and for others.

I know I’ve made a positive difference in someone’s world, and the fact that I don’t know them and they don’t know me, there’s something even more special about it as you feel this sudden sense of connection and meaning.

It is easy to get caught up in a frantic world of never-ending tasks or focusing on what is wrong in your life, there is always going to be things wrong in your life…but there is always going to be things worse in someone else’s life that you could make a positive difference in. When you focus on others, your own issues melt away as whatever we focus on we feel, so doing something kind for others, especially when someone isn’t expecting it, is the easiest way to feel happier. Embrace kindness and generosity and it’ll come back your way.

It could be as simple as making someone a cup of tea in your house, writing a happy note to your partner or housemate and sticking it in their bag for them to read later, picking something up for someone that’s dropped something, opening a door for someone and wishing them a great day with a smile on your face.

8). DE-CLUTTER YOUR LIFE 

Sometimes there is nothing better than a good old-fashioned clear-out. This past couple of weeks, my husband and I have spent seriously de-cluttering our flat and it’s been the most therapeutic thing ever! I can’t believe how much stuff we hold onto that just clutters up our space.

There may be things you are storing on an emotional level and there may be things you are storing physically that are cluttering your thoughts. We’re going for the Feng Shui look in our house, though we still have a LOT of work to do, mainly in my wardrobe 😉
Collect all your old clothes, appliances, or furniture that you no longer need and pass it on to charity. Not only are you letting go of things that no longer serve your life, but you are also contributing to someone else’s.

9). THINK OF THREE GOOD THINGS

I do this exercise with all of my clients, whether they are coming to see me for weight loss, skin breakouts or any other health challenge. Taking the time to think about three good things that happened in your day (and why) every day, is a great way to be precise about what you are grateful for.

Our thoughts shape our words, our words steer our conversations, and our actions and our life is made up of all of our tiny actions compounded together, so in short, our thoughts matter. Focusing on positive thoughts and the positive things that are going on in our lives every day, helps you to foster an optimistic outlook and become more appreciative for what you already have in your life and put your struggles and challenges into perspective.

What’s your favourite tip out of the nine above? I’d love to know. Wishing you a gorgeous rest of the week and I hope these tips keep you cosy from the inside out in the cooler months ahead!

Jess xx

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Hi, I’m Jess! Nutritional Therapist  & Personal Trainer, sharing workouts & nutrition made simple from my island home in Menorca. My mission? To educate & inspire people to achieve & sustain their personal health & body shape goals. I love to hike, cook, and bring inspiring people together.

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