It’s tough to stay positive when you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. And, then get stuck in a windowless work environment. Shorter days and dreary winter weather can bring us down. There are even some of us that suffer from a type of seasonal depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I was interviewed by the nationally syndicated show, Daytime TV, a couple of years ago, about how to stay positive this winter. You can watch my interview on my GoDrJo channel at YouTube.
In the video, you’ll discover 5 tips that are research-driven to help you feel better on these dark, dreary days! Here they are:
1. Listen to Uplifting Music and Stories
You know how your brain can sometimes get stuck on the last song you played before you shut off the car? Well, let that be something fun and uplifting. Instead of listening to the news during your entire morning routine and commute, switch it up. Play some uplifting music just before you arrive to work.
Or maybe some uplifting story. How about NPR’s Story Corp? (also available on the app store). Or the Good New Network? What fun app do you use?
2. Get 30 Minutes of Daylight Every Day
Do you harder time getting out of bed in the winter months? You’re not alone. Part of the reason may be because we’re not getting enough sunlight. The sun’s rays provide so many health and mood benefits. Sunlight provides essential Vitamin D to keep us healthy. And, there’s a relationship between very low vitamin D levels and depression and other mental disorders.
Sunlight also helps us to regulate our sleep patterns so we go to sleep easier – and wake up more refreshed. And all it takes is getting 30 minutes of daylight exposure each day. Could you take a brief walking break outside during your lunch time? How else can you structure your day to see some sunlight?
3. Get Lost in a Hobby
Do you find your job and family responsibilities to be overwhelming? We all feel that way at times. A good way to feel good is to practice a hobby.
Do you have a hobby? If not, think back to a time when you did. Remember how time would just fly when you lost “in the zone”? And then feel accomplished in the end? One of my hobbies is sewing. I’m currently reupholstering a double chaise lounge chair. And, just last night, I stapled on the last bit of the fabric. What a great feeling of pride.
4. Hang Out with Positive People
Did your holiday commitments include family members that bring you down? Or maybe it’s the people that you work with that drive you crazy. Maybe you can’t do much about that. But, when it comes to your friends…the people you hang out with…choose those that are positive and fun.
In addition to being fun, positive people tend to practice healthy habits such as exercise, choosing healthy foods, and knowing how to destress. And, the good news is that you don’t have to live in the same town as you do.
Three of my closest friends live across the country from me. And, we connect by phone during our commutes. One relationship goes back 30+ years! What about you? Do you have positive, uplifting friends? And, if not, why not? Try meetup.com (or the app) to find people who share your passions – whether it’s running, going to the theater, or playing cards.
5. Repeat Positive Affirmations
You may not realize it, but we all talk to ourselves and provide constant commentary on what we observe. If you listen in, you’re probably more likely to spout comments of doubt or negativity. Things like: “What was I thinking?”, “Oh, I shouldn’t have eaten that…I have no willpower”, “I better get my act together or I’m going to get fired.”
If you want to feel better, you’ll have to start thinking better. Even if you don’t believe it right now, start repeating positive messages to yourself. If you want to stay more focused at work try, “I am clear-headed and focused. I’m on target to achieve my goals.” Trying to lose weight? Repeat, “I enjoy healthy foods. I love to walk.” I know…these might sound silly at first, but you’ll eventually start to live what you repeat to yourself.