One of the hardest parts of adjusting to Boston was getting used to the gloomy days. In Texas, I was so used to having constant sunshine. I didn’t realize how much the sun affects my mood until I experienced many days without sun. There is a direct correlation between sunshine and happiness. Sunlight increases serotonin levels, which makes you happier. This feeling could also be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms include constantly feeling depressed, having low energy, changes in appetite and/or weight, have difficulty concentrating, and low interest in the things you usually do. This is why during the dark winters, our moods may not be as great. After being exposed to constant sunlight in Texas, the lack of sun really has affected my overall mood and day to day life. I couldn’t exactly figure out why I felt this way so I have experimented different methods to make me feel happier. I have researched ways to get more Vitamin D, and I have found a few tips to brighten your mood on gloomy days.
Take vitamin D supplements & Eat foods with vitamin D- After having my mom constantly telling me to take my vitamins, I recently just started taking vitamin D supplements and I can already see a difference in my mood. I have more energy (without having caffeine) and I am in an overall better mood. All you have to do is take one to two supplements with food. They are so easy to find too. I personally bought mine on Amazon, but they are also available at drug stores or even some grocery stores. Here are just a few foods that are rich in vitamin D: fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon), orange juice, soy milk, almond milk, yogurt, oatmeal, cheese, and egg yolks.
Buy a Happy Light- I still really, really want a Happy Light. I actually heard about this Happy Light from one of my fellow sun lovers from California. The Happy Light is made to mimic sunlight and enhance mood, energy, sleep, and focus. They start around $40. Personally, I think this is a great investment. Especially considering the weather in Boston. I am definitely going to be purchasing one for next year. For a basic light, you can buy it on Amazon, but for the more high end Happy Lights there are more specialized websites.
Take a walk- Even though the sun may not be out, a quick little walk can boost your mood. Being cooped up indoors all day is not beneficial to your mood. A little exercise is guaranteed to make your body happier. I love going on walks through the Boston Gardens and then I make my way to the Charles River. If I’m in a really good mood, then I go to Newbury.
Embrace the sun when it does come out- On the days that there is sun, take full advantage of it. Go for a run. Sit and do your homework outside at a cafe. Stroll the commons. Whatever you want to do, just make sure it is outdoors in the sun. I also am a huge believer in skipping class when the weather is nice. Of course, I have only done this one or two times. I am still a good student. But on the days when it is pretty out, just a few minutes outside can make a huge difference to your day.
I hope these few tips help you boost your mood. I know that I rely heavily on these during the winter and I take full advantage of any sunlight now. Although we can’t change the weather, there are so many steps we can take to boost our mood!