Hot chocolate over a book. The landscape covered with snow. These moments remind us of why winter is beautiful. But… gloomy skies and the cold weather can knock out even the most resolute and productive person. If you’re living in the northern hemisphere and are experiencing the typical lethargy that’s associated with this season, you know what I’m talking about. In this article, I discuss five scientifically awesome ways to kiss good-bye to winter lethargy.
I just love winter. I love going for a walk in the woods while it’s covered by inches of snow. And I also find it easier to devote myself to reading and i’badah since I spend most of my time indoors. These are also a few reasons why winter is one of my favourite seasons.
But let’s be real. Winter has its negative side too. The gloomy sky and cold weather can make it very difficult to be motivated and productive. Although it’s discouraged in the Deen, it’s very easy to find excuses to be lazy during this season.
That’s why different scholars over time have repeatedly told us to take advantage of this season. Hassan Al-Basri (rahimahullah) used to say: “The best season to a believer is the winter; its nights are long for those who wish to pray and its days are short for those who wish to fast.” (There is a similar hadith, but many scholars differ about its authenticity)
So, winter is the time for us Muslims to be more productive in our i’badah. The increased productivity in our i’badah will certainly motivate us to achieve more in our Dunya-related pursuits as well.
To make this winter the most productive one for you, I’ve decided to share the 5 strategies I personally use to combat the winter lethargy. Believe me; they work like wonders, Alhamdulillah!
#1. Optimise Your Vitamin D Intake
If you’re living in the northern hemisphere, you know that sunny winter days are rare. And that’s what makes those days special. Have you ever noticed how being out on a sunny day changes your mood?
This is because your body produces vitamin D when you are exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is excellent in boosting your mood.
I highly recommend you get your daily dose of vitamin D either by sunlight exposure or by taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement. Read more about this topic in my previous article.
#2. Get Indoor Blue Light
Getting enough blue light exposure is essential for fighting your winter lethargy. Studies have shown that blue light exposure improves alertness, elevates mood and even improves mental performance.
Now getting this blue light is quite easy. All you need to do is to step outside your home/office and expose yourself to the sun. Sunlight is the primary source of blue lights.
The fact that the sun is the primary source doesn’t make getting blue light in the winter easy for two reasons:
- Most winter days lack sunlight
- During the winter, a majority of people spend most of their time indoors
To fix this and to fight winter lethargy, research shows that replacing your ordinary light bulbs with blue-enriched white light bulbs are a practical solution. Blue-enriched light bulbs are bulbs like LED and Fluorescent light bulbs.
The participants in this study who were exposed to artificial blue lights demonstrated improvement in the following areas:
- Increased alertness,
- Better performance,
- Positive mood, and
- Ability to concentrate better.
If you need a short-cut to get your blue light during the winter, go for this beautiful portable device: Philips goLITE BLU.
Exposure to this device for 30 minutes first thing in the morning helps combat lethargy.
#3. Engage in Physical Activities
Yeah, you read that right. This one doesn’t need any investment .
Hundreds of research studies clearly show that physical activity improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negativity. Exercise can also improve your self-esteem, attitude and even your cognitive function.
If you want to fight lethargy, go for a jog or the hit your gym for at least 30 minutes! Nothing beats exercise when it comes to boosting your mood and motivation.
#4. Eat the Right Food
You are what you eat! This means, the food you eat has an immense impact on your body and mind. Eat the types of whole foods I’ve described in my free course. Also avoid processed foods as much as possible. These two aspects will boost both your physical and mental health.
Because it’s cold, it might be tempting to indulge in a warm pizza, a sugar-laden doughnut, and a super creamy coffee on a cold winter day. But the sugar in these foods increases lethargy and can negatively affect your mood (e.g. feeling guilt after eating what you shouldn’t have).
Sugar, including the high fructose corn syrup in your soda or ketchup, has a harmful impact on your mood and brain functions.
#5. Refresh Yourself by Going for A Walk
Go for a walk. Whenever you feel tired and drowsy, just go for a short walk. Even a 10-minute walk in the cold weather can be refreshing.
Use This Season to Your Advantage
By following these tips, you can surely combat all the negatives associated with this season, bi’idnillah!