Brain Food for a Better Winter Mood

By Emma Wisbey

I love all 4 seasons, but I’m sure many of you are starting to feel a little anxious about your health with the colder climate and shorter days fast approaching.  If you are already loathing winter let’s strategize a few ways to get you smiling and feeling resistant to all that winter is bringing with it.

Sunshine

Shorter days don’t have to be depressing. Just be sure to make the most of the hours of daylight you do get. Resist the temptation to sleep in past sunrise, and utilise every minute. I find this time of day a beautiful time to tick off my exercise for the day, and integrate in some “me time”, before I start my fulltime job as mother of 3. The early setting of the sun is also an excellent time to re-establish your circadian rhythm. Consider earlier nights and really allow the brain to rest and reset whilst the sun is down. Following the simple rule of activity during daylight and rest during moonlight will set up a good circadian rhythm that will benefit your mood and mental health.

Fresh Air

It’s only too easy to complain about the cold and “batten down the hatches” in the winter months. However, too much time indoors does mean poor quality air which is often heated and recycled. The best source of oxygen is outdoors and this should be an important inclusion in your day (rain, hail or shine). Being outdoors also exposes you to sunlight providing much needed vitamin D, which is of paramount importance in the winter months due to its role in your body’s immune system.

Brain Food

If you are craving stodgy carbs chances are your brain is trying to tell you something, ie. It’s tired and needs fuel. Winter is a great time for lots of soups and stews. It’s so easy to pre-plan and prepare batches ready for the weeknights when you are busy with work and life. Lots of warming herbs and spices can be added to your meals to bring an additional sense of warmth. Think about stocking up on ginger, chilli, cardamom and all of those lovely warming aromatic herbs/spices. A cooked breakfast can be a really warming start to your day that pumps your brain full of nutrients. Warm oats, poached eggs or oven baked tomatoes are simple foods that don’t take too much time to prepare and can easily be woven into your morning routine.

Water

It is difficult to consume enough water during winter. But with a little focus, and perhaps a slightly different approach, we can get your fluid intake up to scratch. Herbal teas are a great way of doing this, and the extra bonus is often a warm drink can curb the need to snack on refined carbs. Even just a splash of lemon in warm water will help keep you hydrated.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, winter is coming. But nourishing our brain can banish the winter blues. Just think of the love you would give a little plant: sunshine, fresh air, food and water. It’s that simple! 

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