Beat the Winter Blahs With These Good-Mood Boosters

Listen to your body and take these easy steps to stimulate the senses and give yourself a mindfully healthy leg-up. Photo: kupicoo/Getty Images

Beating those winter blues and boosting a better mood means taking the time to get in touch with your senses. And in these times of trouble, it’s even more important to learn to practise the art of self-care. Start by listening to your body and take these easy steps to stimulate the senses and give yourself a mindfully healthy leg-up.

> HEAR Listening to music has been shown to boost mood, enhance memory and even help time fly. Brain imaging at McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute has shown that listening to music enhances the release of dopamine. That’s the same chemical triggered by good food and great sex. Some specific pieces of music that most frequently trigger feelings of pleasure in listeners include Beethoven’s “Für Elise,” Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and the fourth movement from Dvorak’s New World Symphony No. 9. Try adding high-quality sound to your home. Sonos Move is sweat-proof and drop-resistant, so it also works seamlessly when you want to get motivated for a workout, from backyard yoga or bedroom cycling.

> SEE Add a little eye candy to your life through art and stimulate your brainwaves and patterns for a bit of a positive serotonin boost. Google’s Arts and Culture app takes you on virtual tours of some of the most popular and exclusive galleries in the world. At home, add a hit of form and function to boost your mood and spark a sense of the new. Update your work from home space with tabletop organizers from the EQ3 Lithic Collection that are as much sculpture as they are useful. 

> SMELL Sometimes you have to get in the mood for housecleaning. But if you do a little bit at a time, the task doesn’t seem as daunting, especially with cleaning products containing mood-boosting and relaxing aromatherapeutic essential oils, such as zingy citrus and soothing lavender. Try: The Bare Home’s eco-friendly scented cleaning products, which you can order as “the complete home bundle.” The Canadian company makes safe-for-you-and-your-home products, including refillable hand soaps and laundry detergents infused with organic essential oils. 

> TOUCH “I always start [before applying makeup] with a facial massage,” says L’Oréal Paris makeup artist Jodi Urichuk. “It helps tone and tighten the skin.” Tip: You can use your hands to help your serums, such as L’Oréal Paris’ Revitalift Triple Power LZR 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum and moisturizers penetrate more deeply or try a facial roller to also help the skin’s absorption of your products. 

> TASTE Wine and cheese is healthier than it sounds. Studies continue to add to the highly regarded reputation of red wine as a source of resveratrol, which is now also said to help stave off cognitive decline in post-menopausal women. Of course, you’d have to drink a lot of red wine to get your daily recommended, so we say try a supplement. 

And Mulled Wine is having a moment! We like the rich flavour that B.C.’s Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot adds to the classic winter warmer (recipe, below). And cheese is a source of calcium, so it’s a win-win! Throw in a few celery sticks, as something about the phytochemicals in the veggie helps lower blood pressure (we also think it’s the art of “slow-chewing” that calms us down). 

 

 

REClPE: Sumac Ridge Mulled Wine Recipe 

 

1 lemon 

1 orange 

1 bottle Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot 

1/4 cup brandy 

1/4 cup water 

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup 

4 whole cloves 

6 whole green cardamom 

1 cinnamon stick 

2 star anise 

10 dashes of angostura bitters 

Directions 

1) Peel the lemon and orange and reserve; juice them both. 

2) In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients, including the citrus juices and peels. 

3) Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from heat and steep for at least an hour. If you’re in a  rush, you can simmer for 15 minutes, instead.