Many of us feel blue in the winter, and it's no wonder. The lack of sunlight and too much time indoors — not to mention that pesky stack of holiday bills — can add to the blah mood of the coldest months.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to perk yourself up on down days — simple tricks that don't require a gym membership or tickets on a Caribbean cruise.
Eat an orange.
The scent of citrus is a natural mood-booster, so pick up a bag of clementines or navel oranges. When you peel or slice one open, inhale deeply and feel your gears shift. For a whole house pick-me-up, toss a sliced lemon, a sprig of rosemary and two cinnamon sticks into a couple cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for several hours. Another easy mood-booster: Opt for refreshing, lemony scents in kitchens and bathrooms.
It's well-known that physical activity makes you feel better — but sometimes finding the motivation can be tough, especially when the weather's uncooperative. So make a pact with your spouse or a friend to walk for half an hour every morning or evening, or with a work buddy at lunchtime.
No time? No worries — even a brisk five-minute stroll will get your blood flowing and improve your mood, and your brain still picks up those cheering rays through the wintertime clouds. (No matter what season, it's always best to apply a coat of sunscreen before you head out.)
Indulge yourself with a soothing bedtime routine.
Nothing contributes to a feeling of overall peace and well-being more than a good night's sleep. Try to keep to a consistent bedtime and unplug from all electronics at least an hour before turning in (no 11 p.m. sneak peeks at Facebook; the cute cat videos can wait till morning.) Make yourself a cup of calming herbal tea and lose yourself in a favorite book or magazine until you naturally nod off.
Soak in old-fashioned, soothing Epsom salts.
There's a reason this home treatment has been around for generations. Epsom salts are borderline magical in their ability to soothe tired muscles and replenish your energy supplies. They actually draw toxins out of your body — which both boosts your mood and can calm you down before bedtime.
Make a simple, homemade sugar scrub.
For a quick “me time" spa treatment, blend one cup of organic coconut oil, ½ cup granulated or brown sugar, and about 10 drops of peppermint, vanilla or lavender oil. Mix together, scoop and scrub. Try different flavors for their therapeutic benefits — a lemon-rosemary blend is invigorating, lavender is soothing and oregano is known for fighting off cold symptoms.
Play with your furry friend.
With their unconditional love, pets can lift your mood without saying a word. So take Fido out for a jaunt to the dog park, even if it's not 70 degrees and sunny. (Bonus: You get some much-needed exercise, too.) Or, cuddle with your kitten; snuggling with a pet calms and soothes us. Pay them back by treating them to Food Lion's own Home 360 Pet treats.
Tuck dryer sheets in unexpected places.
Give your car, closets and other out-of-the-way places a quick blast of aromatherapy. And whether you switch it up or use a tried and true favorite, don't discount the intoxicating feel and scent of clean sheets to improve your mood.
Buy flowers for that special someone — yourself.
There's something incredibly cheerful about a bright bouquet in the middle of winter. It doesn't have to be elaborate; a simple bunch of fresh carnations or daisies will do the trick for just a few dollars. So before you check out with your week's worth of groceries, add a “just for me" armful of flowers to your cart.