Put on a Happy Face: Natural Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Published January 12, 2013

Short days, cold weather and cloudy skies can make even the most chipper person feel dreary. So how can you put on a happy face—and actually mean it—when winter’s doldrums are at their worst? Consider these all-natural strategies for turning that frown upside down:

Accessorize in cheery colors. Using the sun as your inspiration, add some decorations to your home in yellows, oranges and reds. Yellow gives off vibes of joy and energy, orange is invigorating and creative, and red is all about passion and heat. A few flowers here and there will also brighten the room—and your mood.

Add some spice to your life. Capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers that gives them their zing, enhances your circulation and helps you power through that mid-afternoon slump when the sun is setting and your energy’s going down with it. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it has.

Keep moving. If there’s one thing that comes closest to a cure-all, it’s exercise. Hitting the gym on a regular basis will infuse you with energy. (Not a Focus Fitness member yet? Email us to find out how you can be a part of New Jersey’s most exclusive gym.) Now is also a great time of year to get moving outdoors when you can. Getting away on a ski vacation has all kinds of benefits, but even just briskly walking around your neighborhood or at the park will help.

Let there be light. Keep your curtains open to stream in all the sunlight you can get. Still not enough? You may benefit from a light therapy box, which mimics the effects of the sun’s rays inside your home. There are all kinds of different boxes to choose from; this Mayo Clinic article outlines some of the things you want to keep in mind when deciding which one is right for you.

Get a whiff of that. Different scents have the ability to uplift you. Lemon is a common mood enhancer, and peppermint oil can make you feel more energized. A strawberry-scented candle might remind you of summer, while a lavender sachet could calm you down when you’re feeling stressed. Experiment with a range of scents to see what smells put a smile on your face.