March 6, 2019
6 Ways to Transition into a Sunnier Mindset
Just in time for daylight savings
Photo courtesy of Schmidt’s
By Natalie Shukur
writer for The Natural
It may be March, but it’s still bleak out there (for those of us more north, anyway). In fact, prolonged wintery conditions can have a serious impact on our physical and mental wellbeing, and March always feels like a particularly tough slog. To get you through to spring — and put you in a sunnier mindset — try these quick and easy tricks.
Scent is such a powerful motivator. Our olfactory sense, noted Roy Bedichek in The Sense of Smell (1960), is perhaps the most evocative of all the senses. “Not vision, not hearing, touch, nor even taste — so nearly akin to smell — none other, only the nose calls up from the vastly deep with such verity those sham, cinematic materializations we call memories,” he wrote. So, if you’re looking to warm up, reach for scents that remind you of summer vacation — salty beaches, freshly cut grass, tropical fruits, and exotic flowers. From your deodorant to your body wash and even toothpaste, find everyday ways (and products) with a sunny scent profile to give you a boost throughout the day.
Awake with the sun
While it may be tempting to succumb to winter darkness and hide under your blankets, sleeping with your blinds or curtains open could greatly improve your mood and sleep, giving you a sunnier disposition. Light is one of the principal elements that governs our day-night cycle, and uncovering your windows will allow light to filter in first thing in the morning, so you can wake up naturally with the sun and feel more refreshed. Even better (and weather permitting), get out for an early morning walk before work and get some sun directly into your eyes for an instant mood boost. It might be cold out there, but as spring approaches, daylight is increasing with each new day.
Consider a SAD lamp
If you don’t have natural light streaming into your room or are simply not a crack-of-dawn person, you might want to make friends with a light therapy box, also known as a daylight simulating lamp, or SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder) lamp. Make sure you pick one that emits at least 10,000 lux and spend around 20 – 60 minutes per day with it placed at eye level. Confused? New York Magazine recently did a great round up of affordable lamps, backed by experts.
See the bright
Along with brightening your scent profile, try adding bright pops of color and summery prints to your wardrobe and home. The Ancient eastern traditions of India, Egypt, and China all used color to restore and balance. It sounds simple, but something as easy as throwing on a red scarf (in chromotherapy, red and pink are known as “the great energizers”) can give you a feeling of warmth. A bunch of bright flowers or a slick of red lipstick can also provide a quick pick-me-up.
Boost your vitamin D intake
Vitamin D is one of those tricky vitamins (technically a prohormone) that is rare to find in therapeutic quantities in foods, which is why it is one of the most oft-recommended supplements by doctors. It’s estimated that around 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D (ask for a blood test if you’re not sure how you fare), and related conditions can include mood disorders, osteoporosis, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, stroke, fatigue, and inflammation. One of the most effective ways to get vitamin D is to increase your exposure to sunlight. Around 15 minutes of sunlight on your hands and face every day is plenty for your body to make enough vitamin D under normal circumstances. When the days are darker, you might want to look at supplementation. “Many experts believe that, for optimal health, levels should be maintained between 50 – 80 ng/mL year round. This is easily accomplished by taking 4 – 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day in winter months,” says Dr. John Douillard, who recommends a D3 supplement derived from sheep’s lanolin.
Sweat it out
Hot yoga classes and far infrared sauna sessions are a great way to get you sweating and feel the heat of a long lost summer. While the jury is out on the purported health benefits of far infrared, the feeling of warming up and perspiring alone is beneficial in winter months. And if the aforementioned remedies are too trendy for you, a good old fashioned run, hot bath, or traditional sauna or steam room session will help to de-freeze the body and relax the mind.
Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.