© Maiken Elizabeth Fjellstad
It's that time of the year, the air changes, our skin starts drying and our emotions can start to feel quite drab. Although there is a certain joy about getting the winter coat on and purchasing a couple of new jumpers (named the back to school kit forever!) it can still feel irksome when the cold winter nights set in.
It has been proven that we lose a lot of our enriching vitamin C at this time of the year and often motivation, so here are my top ten tips to get a spring in your step, whatever the season....
1- Spontaneous plans
It can be quite easy to fall into the tread of everyday existence, wishing the winter months by and dreaming of summer, but it's a time to be rejoiced. Cherish the colours of the trees through autumn and the crisp December mornings. Take that extra walk even if it's freezing. Enjoy the Christmas lights coming on. It's also good to switch up your plans a bit. Visit a new obscure place. Call an old friend to catch up. And do something with your weekends! Don't let life drift by, you don't have to wish your winter away.
2- Vitamin overload!
Now is the time to really get your vitamin intake in shape. Doctors can provide a blood test to see what your deficient in as well as iron levels. Supplements can be purchased cheaply but I beware of the real rock bottom priced ones (I've seen some for 40p for 100!) because they are produced chemically in a factory and contain nothing that is good for you. 5-HTP supplements are great for increasing serotonin and Vitamin B can have a calming effect. If you feel like treating yourself, a nutritionist is also amazing at working out exactly what you need to be the best you.
3- Do your new years resolutions now!
Make that list, pen out a plan and write down your dreams. Create your own mood board for your dreams and believe in the intention that you will act upon them. Don't say try, say I will! Break down small tasks that can become bigger tasks. Look at what's not working and change it, no one's stopping you from ending something you're just not into anymore.
4- Start your morning well
The morning is a very important time. Laying the foundations correctly can set the whole day up for happiness, focus and purpose. Waking up and having gratitude for your life and loved ones is a great way to start and too often we forget how lucky we are and throw ourselves out of bed. If you can take a probiotic it will help with digestive wellness, followed by hot lemon water to release toxins and create an energy flow. Simple stretches and leaning over gently to get blood to your head or a brisk walk to get fresh air can clear the head. And in the adopted words of Benjamin Franklin ask yourself, 'what good am I going to do today?'
5- Cutting out the rubbish!
Earlier this year, I was bedridden with a chronic illness. Throughout this time, I tried many doctors, specialists and everything medicinal in-between but when that didn't work I turned to naturopathy. I thought I was pretty healthy but my therapist suggested I cut out wheat, dairy, sugar, gluten, carbs and alcohol (to my astonishment at the time!)
Within just one month I had more energy, focus, happiness and creativity- it was physically and emotionally like a cloud had been lifted from my shoulders. My friends thought I was mad not eating sweet treats and although not easy, the benefits far outweigh it.
It is amazing that even on the back of a simple supermarket salad you will often see an abundance of additives including lactic acids, stabilisers and Xanthan gum.
© Annette B Kellow
6- Boost your serotonin!
Winter Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD) affects millions of people worldwide with a huge 25 million in America. Serotonin exerts powerful control over our emotions, wellbeing, memory, focus and cravings and when lacking this can cause problems with sleeping, pain tolerance, body temperature and the ability to feel enjoyment.
Serotonin boosting foods are kale, spinach, green tea, eggs, nuts and fatty omega rich fish.
7- Take a gadget break.
If its not whatsapp, it's instagram, emails or facebook. Then there's telephone calls, YouTube and computer work, its no wonder the brain gets frazzled! This can all lead to a state of aggravation, confusion and feeling complacent.
An easy way to start is to get technology out of your room when you're sleeping. Then try to take frequent Internet breaks. Do you really need to see another duck video or a photo of someone's macaroni cheese?
8- Get spiritual!
Yoga and meditation have been used in ancient Chinese culture for centuries and have been proven to have calming effects. Most recently Harvard students produced a five-year study, which scientifically proved that practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness increased energy metabolism and insulin secretion.
When testing people that practiced yoga twenty minutes a day and those that did not, they found a medicine link that reduced inflammatory disease and stress.
If you don't have a yoga class near you, there are many free online tutorials and meditation wise, Deepak Chopra posts brilliant videos.
9- Swot up!
In the dreary months ahead learning can always broaden the horizons. There are some great online courses or my personal favourite is watching Ted talks (perfect in the bath!)
You can find out the most incredible inspiring things! Look at your local classes if you don't feel like travelling, walking to a class might be easier and you'll get some air too!
10- New exercise!
We hear it often enough that working out is good for us but did you know that repeating the same exercise cannot always benefit as much as we think? Our bodies can accommodate and adapt to regular exercise very quickly therefore not burning as many calories (whilst sometimes it can get a little boring!)
Arnold Lee, MD, a physician at One Medical Group, San Francisco believes that stimulating different muscle groups releases more endorphins and stops your body and brain from going onto autopilot.
Exercises that require more than just using the body, for example ballroom dancing, stimulates the brain whilst building a healthy heart, body and mind.
© Annette B Kellow