Winter has come for many of us. The days are shorter and the weather requires us to wrap up warm when we go out.
Often in the colder months, we find our mood drops and we have little interest or energy to get out and about.
When it is warm, we all love going out, socializing and making the most of our days. However, this changes drastically in the winter. The reason is probably different for each of us; some people just don’t like the cold whereas others may suffer from mental health problems induced by the changes in season, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Nevertheless, we should try our best to continue to look after ourselves in these months. Our body is a amanah (trust) from Allah; concentrating on maintaining a healthy outlook is important.
When our mood or motivation drops, we run the risk of causing damage to our faith as we may struggle with acts of worship. The winter is thus a test for us as believers to continue to participate in acts that are soothing to your souls.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
…For your eyes have a right over you, your body has a right over you… (Sunan an-Nasa’i)
The Prophet used to try to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. (Tirmidhi)
With the days much shorter in the winter, this is a perfect time to maintain your fasts. These may be those days you missed in Ramadan or the Sunnah fasts of Month and Thursday.
Using the change in season in a positive way to develop our worship and impact positively on our faith is a great way to change our outlook. This will also help us be more grateful for the change in weather.
2- Exercise Regularly
During the winter, the change in availability of light and warmth can lead to various hormones, such as a serotonin, to be reduced in our brain.
This can leave our mood low and us feeling unmotivated as well as lacking in sleep.
Exercise has been shown to increase the amount of serotonin made in the brain, having a positive effect in keeping a person feeling happier and balanced.
Exercising regularly also helps to increase energy levels, another factor that helps to combat low mood.
3- Make Time for You
The cold months can have a big effect on our skin, hair and nails. Set time aside to look after yourself and to enjoy some pampering.
Setting time aside so you can feel beautiful is a key way to keep your mood up. This can be in the form of a nice bath with bubbles regularly or a facial to keep your skin looking bright; whatever makes you feel pleased with your appearance and self should be booked into your diary.
4- Eat Well
Winter can make us feel weak and lethargic, especially because we do not have as much sunlight. With low sunlight, our skin suffers the effect of not absorbing vitamin D.
Vitamin D plays a key role in many bodily functions but has been linked to depression, tiredness and low mood when a person is deficient.
By ensuring you eat a healthy, balanced diet you can try to make up the lack of vitamin D to combat tiredness. Fish, cheese, egg yolks and foods fortified with vitamin D, such as orange juice and some dairy products, are great things to add into the diet.
5- Lighten up your Surroundings
Low lighting can make the dark from the outside seem even worse. Purchase some bright lights that will keep you motivated to hit your daily tasks, even when the sun has set.
Often, feeling unproductive and demotivated can leave you feeling down in the dumps because your to-do list does not seem like it is ever ending. Tackling this with a few practical changes could make the world of difference.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)