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10 Ways to help you feel Happy in the middle of Winter!

10. Treat yourself!

Send some love your way…a hot bath and candles, lighting candles in the house, a good hair cut, a pedicure, or whatever makes you happy. These are all ways we can show some love to ourselves. I believe the more love we show to ourselves, the more love we are able to send out to others. It’s important to treat yourself!

Funny fact…when I first met my husband I found out that he loves to get pedicures. His dad always said, “Son, you’ve gotta take care of your feet.” I thought it was kinda funny but then didn’t mind at all because it meant I got to get one too, and it was something fun we could do together:). Win-win! I love waking up with a new pedicure…”happy feet”, I say. My husband jokes, “sexy toes”.

9. Matcha Latte!

I just had to include this one, as silly as it may sound; this powdered green tea drink is filled polyphenols that have antioxidants and micronutrients found in foods like wine and chocolate. Plus, it contains amino acids and L-theanine, an amino acid that helps you have relaxed alertness. But if Matcha isn’t your thing, a lovely glass of red or just a cup of green tea and some dark chocolate are lovely substitutes:)! Check out my recipe for Honey Rose Match Latte (the recipe also works for a regular Matcha Latte-minus the rose)! If you’ve never had a Matcha Latte please give it a try! I believe you will be pleasantly surprised!

8. Stay warm!

My acupuncturists sent me an article by Amy C. Darling. Amy talks about Food as Medicine. In digging a little further I discover in Chinese Medicine how important seasonal eating is. This article by April Crowell suggests eating the right foods for winter, like warm soups, instead of cold salads…which totally makes sense as I can see it stressing the body, even more, to be adding cold foods when we need to be warming up, requiring more energy to be used. April explains it well in the linked article. The goal is to not stress the body and eat more cooked, warming foods. Squashes, root vegis, winter greens are all great when cooked in the winter, avoiding raw cold foods as much as possible. There is a whole list in her article. Here is another great article. I’m not professing that I am only going to eat this way or that I subscribe to everything in Chinese Medicine, but it has been around for thousands of years and this just makes sense!

For me, I know that when I am cold I am not happy. I am more hungry and cranky when I’m cold. If I take measures to keep myself warm I know that I will be a happier girl!

7. Listen to more music!

Music can light up your spirit! I believe music has the ability to take you out of your head to a better place, especially with uplifting music! I was given the advice (and still need to do it) of making a playlist that when my mind goes to that dark spot I can turn on a song and it can totally lift me out of that mood. For the last couple of days I have had The Message on in the background, and even though I can’t hear it all the time, when I’ve been walking by the perfect message will play to change my negative thought to a positive and I just smile:)…Thank you Jesus!. I highly recommend it!

6. When the sun shines take advantage!

Don’t let it pass you by (queue…My best Friend’s Wedding Boat Clip:)). There is something to be said about the fresh sunshine on your face, even if it’s just standing in the sun for 5 minutes. To see the sun in the winter definitely brightens my mood. Studies have shown that vitamin D has an anti-depressant effect. Even though experts claim that you can’t get enough Vitamin D in the winter due to the sun not being at the right angle to get UV, there are studies that show sunshine may directly stimulate the production of serotonin through the skin. That would explain it! So let’s all bundle up and step out our door when we get that mid-winter sun knocking on it!

5. Happy food!

“Now what the hec does she mean by this?” I believe when you feed your body good stuff you feel good. I know you know this to be true! That morning muffin or biscuits and gravy may taste fab, but you don’t feel so fab after. When you feed yourself with treats like my White Chocolate Sunbutter Bliss Balls (shameless plug:)) they not only taste like you treating yourself but they look pretty and have enough energy-boosting ingredients to give you that much needed “lift” in the middle of winter. Oh, and they look pretty too! Pretty food makes me feel better!

This one ties back to #1, treat yourself. One of my favorite ways to treat myself is to make what I like to call, “girly food”. When it’s just me in the house I like to plan and make a meal just for me! One of my fav’s is pasta with a beautiful pesto (although to be fair, he does love pesto…just has to have some meat). We eat a lot of meat in this house so it’s nice to take a break every now and then. Plus, if I make it with almond flour pasta it’s still Paleo and the color is so beautiful! Definitely happy food!

4. Yoga

Now, I know you’ve probably heard that exercise to make you feel happy. But this is different, and the same:). I’ve got to tell you about Yoga with Adriene! She’s FREE on youtube! She is funny, helps you to get a good workout and I almost always feel better and a sense of joy after I do her videos. She not only helps you with your Yoga moves but she also helps you off the mat with inspirational messages and tools to help you in life. She is AMAZING! I HIGHLY recommend her 30 day Dedicate series-SO GOOD! This series has helped me find more of myself and not be afraid to be me! She even will send you an email you read before the video that will totally inspire you! I know God has used her quotes and inspiration messages to speak to me on exactly what I am dealing with. It’s amazing how He does that!

*TIP*-It is SO helpful for me to do Yoga as one the first things I do in the morning before the day gets going and I find a million distractions or excuses. My husband says the same thing about his workouts. Plus I feel good knowing that my workout is done for the day!:).

3. Happy thoughts!

It’s something my mom always says to us, “Happy thoughts”. Because nothing can change the way you feel like “thinking about what you’re thinking about”. Question yourself, why do I feel yucky? Oh yeah,” I’m thinking…I wish winter were over!”, or whatever the thought may be, and change your thought to a positive, happy thought. Even Jesus talks about this…

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

What we think about is SO important. I need to do a better job of reminding myself of this! It really does help!

2. Serving and thinking about others

This one ties to #2. It may seem counter-intuitive but I believe, and have experienced that the more I get my mind off of myself and onto others I feel happier. I’m no longer focused on me and all of my problems; instead, I’m focused on helping others, which in turn makes me feel good and happy. Isaiah 58:10-11 says this perfectly…

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58: 10-11 (NIV)

Wow! Not only will God be with us to strengthen us, our light will shine to others! Amazing! I believe that we can all aspire to be more like the Dalai Lama in the way he speaks in the quote below (sounds almost impossible, but definitely something to reach for!)

Every morning when I wake up, I dedicate myself to helping others to find peace of mind. Then, when I meet people, I think of them as long term friends; I don’t regard others as strangers.

Dalai Lama

1. Show the love!

This one ties to #2. Spend some time loving someone (pets included). The more love you give, the more you will receive! Plan a date night, play with or take your pup on a walk that has been house-bound all winter, or go to coffee with a friend. Tell them or show them you love them and I guarantee this will make you feel happier. One thing I love to do is put a little note in my husband’s lunch to let him know he is loved:).

Do everything in love

1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)

These all may seem simple, but even if you include just a few of this in your week, I betcha you will spark a bit of light in the midst of an otherwise gray season!

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