Science, Now + Beyond

7 ways to prevent those winter blues

These 7 things are scientifically proven to boost your mood this winter! Try them out.

Starting to feel like it’s time to shut yourself inside the house? Those winter blues are creeping in, but don’t let them get the best of you this season. Here are seven things that are scientifically proven to boost your mood:

1. Throw on your walking shoes


Okay, so taking a walk around the block is probably the last thing you want to do when your bed is calling your name after a long day. But exercise boosts the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which acts as a natural antidepressant.

2. Light a vanilla-scented candle


If you’ve noticed that vanilla-scented candles make you feel relaxed and uplifted, you’re actually right. A study in The Oxford Journal proved that the vanilla fragrance really does reduce stress-driven muscle tension in the body.

3. Pump up the speakers… in the shower


Singing for an hour boosts your immune system, reduces stress, and improves mood. Couple your amazing vocals with a hot shower – that’ll amp up your oxytocin levels and ease anxiety, and you’ll be melting into your bed at the day’s end.

4. Do a good deed


You know that feeling of lightness and joy that you get when you do something for others? It has a name: “helper’s high.” A study conducted at Emory University shows that helping someone else lights up the same part of the brain as receiving a reward or experiencing pleasure. Not sure where to contribute? Check out Save the Children or  charity: water

5. Open the shades!


Ah, that morning light. Let the sun stream into your window for a few seconds in the morning to start your day off right. One study of more than 450 women found that those who got the most light, particularly in the morning, reported better moods and sleep.

6. Find a puppy… seriously.


Pet your neighbor’s dog for a few minutes a day, volunteer at the animal shelter, or stop by your neighborhood pet store to boost the serotonin and oxytocin levels in your brain.

7. Give yourself a break.


Hard-working women have a tendency to beat ourselves up when things don’t go perfectly. Give yourself the grace to say, “Today, I did the best I knew how to do. If I figure out a better way, I’ll do that tomorrow.”

From the pressures of school or work to forgetting your morning coffee, we all need a little boost every now and then. Don’t forget to put yourself first with these seven tips, and you’ll be taking on the world again in no time.