The weather outside has been truly frightful. Record lows have swept the nation along with snow and ice storms. Couple these factors with a worldwide pandemic, and it’s easy to understand why you or members of your community may need something to warm their hearts. Whether it’s doing something for you, your loved ones or members of your community, check out these ways to boost serotonin levels throughout these cold months.
Beat Feeling SAD
If you’ve been feeling down because of the cold weather and extended amounts of time indoors, you’re not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, affects 10 million Americans each year and occurs during cold months with less sunlight.
It’s essential to recognize how you’re feeling. Signs of SAD can include fatigue, depression, changes in appetite or social withdrawal.
SAD can often occur because of the cold weather or lack of sunlight. So if you can’t go to the warmth, bring the warmth to you. Investing in a heat lamp can help boost those serotonin levels and leave you feeling like it’s summertime in the dead of winter. The ideas below are all ways to help you beat SAD and take care of yourself during these times.
Something for You
Happiness starts from within. That’s why it’s important to take the time to do things that make you happy. While this may look different to various people, some things are scientifically-proven to make us happier, including exercise.
Exercise helps release endorphins. If you can’t go outside, consider an at-home workout that will get your heart pumping. Crank up some feel-good music and throw yourself a dance party, or walk up and down the stairs. Even the smallest actions to get your heart rate up can make a huge difference. While you may not feel happy getting started, you’re sure to release endorphins by the end of the workout.
Also, ask yourself what relaxation and self-care specifically looks like for you. Maybe it’s staying warm and curling up with a good book and a blanket. Light a candle with a calming scent like lavender or essential oils. Whatever keeps you warm and warms your heart, make time for that activity.
Something for Loved Ones
While taking some “you” time is sure to keep your heart warm, there are some things you can do to make others happy, all while giving yourself some smiles. In a world where texting reigns supreme, it’s an atypical gesture to pick up the phone and actually make a call. Stay cozy inside and set up a virtual hangout with your closest friends. Laughter has been deemed the best medicine, and that’s because it is an instant mood boost.
Something for the Community
If you’re in a place where you feel like you have something to give, whether it be time or money, consider virtual acts of kindness to warm your heart. Studies have shown that serotonin levels are boosted when we give to others. Consider a virtual volunteer opportunity that you can do from the comfort of your home. If you’re able, consider donating to your favorite organization for some feel-good vibes.
If you’ve been feeling down, remember that you’re not alone. These have been hard times for us all, especially in the face of a global pandemic. Remember to take care of yourself and check in on your loved ones. Plus, doing things for others can end up helping you keep a warm heart as well as spread kindness across the community. Stay warm out there, friends, and remember that spring is just around the corner.