April showers brings May flowers. March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. And February just kind of blobs along — right? If you’re feeling beaten down by the weather, or you just hate that feeling of being sandwiched between the holidays and summertime fun, you’re certainly not alone. This is all the more so if you live in an especially grey climate. Who could blame you for feeling a little snappy at work, or dragging your heels in getting much done?
There’s no need to worry. There are many ways you can improve your mood this February, both inside and outside of the office. Here are five of the most unexpected approaches.
1. Eat With Mood in Mind
When those temperatures drop, there’s nothing like comfort foods. Mac n’ cheese, potatoes, lasagna. Who wouldn’t want to load up on carbs?
Unfortunately, though these foods feel great going down, they’re not necessarily the best for improving your mood overall. Junk food especially will spike and drop your insulin levels, which is nature’s best recipe for grumpiness.
Instead, of going this route, opt for certain power foods. Nuts and seeds, for instance, are filled with omega-3 acids, which have been shown to improve mood somewhat (bonus: all of that protein will keep you satiated for longer). Peanut butter, egg white omelets, and turkey cheese are also great for a protein boost. Oatmeal and other whole grains are a great way to get in those carbs without messing with your insulin levels, as are stews made from seasonal root veggies.
Overall, it’s best to eat to avoid crashes and highs.
2. Bring Rover to Work
If you’re the proud parent of a loving pup, your favorite part of the day is likely coming home to that excited little face. Why not bring that joy right into the office? More and more workplaces are allowing pets at work, and it’s no wonder why: not only do workers with dogs stay for longer hours, but they tend to be less stressed. Just reach over and pet that fluffy head after a tough phone call and you’re bound to feel better. And hey, who makes a better lunch date than your Milkbone snarfling bestie?
3. Fix Your Posture
Believe it or not, the way we sit and stand directly affects our moods and self-perception. In fact, studies have consistently shown that people who slouch feel worse about themselves and are more likely to report feeling depressed, while those who sit up straight are more productive and generally happier.
One of the best ways to get yourself sitting right? Invest in some solid ergonomic gear. Whether it’s an ergonomic keyboard and mouse or an ergonomic chair, ergonomic gear will guide your body into its most ideal positions. This is turn can improve your mood and improve your work life. And hey, if you really need a lift, why not stand up? Standing desks will keep your feet moving and muscles adjusting all day long to keep your motivated and on task.
4. Make Your Own Sunrise
If there’s one truth about winter, it’s this: getting up with your alarm clock when it’s pitch black outside is next to impossible. That’s all the more so in northern latitudes (or southern if you’re in the southern hemisphere), where the sun has likely set before you have a chance to leave the office. Ergonomic lighting in the office is a great way to combat this, but even better for that early morning wake up call is buying a light alarm clock. These clocks begin growing dimly light about half an hour before you’ve set the alarm to go off, growing stronger by the second. This helps nudge your body and mind slowly towards waking, so that you’re ready to go by the time the alarm actually rings. While you still may not love getting up, this should both improve your mood and your energy levels as you begin your day.
5. Take It Outside
Yes, yes, we know: you have no desire to go for a nice stroll when the temperature dips below zero. Still, you’ll find once you take the plunge that the sun and fresh air will do a body good, as will the beauty of a winter landscape. You can ease the pain by bundling up with some serious winter gear, and by making sure walking means really walking. No strolling here — keep the pace brisk and those muscles warm.
Wintertime blues are a common occurrence, but there are many ways to improve your mood. What are your best techniques? Let us know all about them in the blog comments!