Winter is officially here. For many, this can trigger a case of the winter blues, which is commonly caused by a decrease in natural light. If a tropical getaway or pricey light therapy treatments aren’t in the cards, here are a dozen items that can lift your spirits without making a deep dent in your wallet.
A quick mood changer if you’re feeling blue is to add a few houseplants to your home. “Having vibrant green plants indoors can cheer people up by reminding them that spring is not so far away,” said Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. If you’re not a green thumb, choose a houseplant that is resilient and easy to care for, like the Snake Plant and ZZ Plant from Exotic Angel plants from Costa Farms, which are available nationally in many big box stores. After all, successfully caring for plants can make you feel good in itself!
A soothing sip
A cup of hot tea can be very restorative, especially when it contains relaxing and stress-relieving ingredients. The Republic of Tea get relaxed – Tea for Relieving Stress ($10) contains calm-inducing red rooibos, lavender and chamomile, perfect for de-stressing on a chilly winter day.
A Healthy Home Cooked Meal
There’s nothing like coming home after a long day to a delicious home cooked meal, but who has the time? So often we opt for greasy takeout, which usually leaves us feeling grumpy and bloated. Thankfully, there are healthy options like the Zen of Slow Cooking spice packets, which are $21 for a 6-packet variety pack, which includes flavors like Coq au Vin, Indian Dal and Sichuan. Prep your dish in a matter of minutes in the morning, toss in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, and it’s ready by the time you get home.
A big plate of wings might bring a smile to your face, but if you find sweet to be more soothing than savory, try an innovative twist on wings; the Peanut Butter Wings from the Chocolate Pizza Company ($24). Available in milk chocolate and dark chocolate and slathered in peanut butter, these chocolate-covered potato chips will make any chocolate lover feel like they’re in heaven. They also have a “chocolate pizza” that’s to die for.
A little elbow grease can be very therapeutic, and with a frozen treat as a reward, why not? Make your own ice cream whenever the mood strikes with UCO’s Softshell Ice Cream Ball ($30). Your tasty ingredients, like cream, sugar and vanilla go in one end, ice and rock salt go in the other, and then you shake or roll the ball. After 20 minutes, your ice cream will be ready to enjoy! Recipe booklet included.
You can also add a dash of joy to almost any baked good with the Real Cooking Chocolate Pen from Skyrocket ($27). This motorized, easy to use pen allows you to write cheerful messages and designs on cakes, cookies and more with real chocolate. The kit comes with everything you need to get started, including confectioner’s chocolate in three different colors, molds, and multiple tips for writing and decorating.
These short winter days and dark mornings can impact your natural circadian rhythm, which is why it’s been so hard to get up in the morning. The Beddi Glow by Witti Design ($80) is a digital alarm clock that simulates sunrise, allowing you to wake up happier. You can also program it to play music from your Spotify or Apple music accounts or white noise to lull you peacefully to sleep at night.
It can also be helpful to add more light to your environment during the day. And why shouldn’t that light source be playful and amusing, like the Pineapple LED light ($13.50) or cactus LED light ($12) from Kikkerland.com?
Scent can have a transformative effect on our sense of wellbeing. Try scenting your home with a fragrance that is known to be aromatherapeutic and lighten your mood in no time. The Everyone Diffuser ($23) and Everyone Relax ($11) essential oil blend from EO Products will help you relax in minutes.
Hang a message board in your home that you can update with positive messages. The Original Marquis Lightbox ($49.95), which is available at The Grommet, is a backlit box that comes with 100 letters, numbers, symbols and blank tiles, allowing you to easily create a new message whenever the mood strikes.
You may not have time to read much, but we can all learn from those who are far wiser than we are. With an audiobook, you can listen almost any time, like during your morning walk to work or while you’re tidying up the house. In The Book of Joy audiobook, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu share their stories of triumph over struggle and impart advice on how to live joyfully. You can listen through Audible, which is free for 30 days and $14.95 per month after that.
Sliding into a cozy pair of slippers after a long, cold day is so satisfying! Available for men, women and kids, Fuzzy Babba slippers ($10 and up) are toasty warm, but also whimsical and fun, with everything from super hero slippers to animal slippers (guaranteed to make you grin!).
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