Mood boosters for the whole family



Wintertime is the best time to be mindful of mood

Be mindful of mood in winter


In two short months, we will have been in a pandemic for a year. Even as health officials tell us that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and a sense of normalcy should return by autumn, plowing through the Winter of Covid is proving challenging indeed. The enforced distancing, and the reduced opportunity to spend time outside, all combined with political and social upheaval, can make anybody in the family particularly gloomy. With those circumstances in mind, Kathi Kemper, MD has put together a helpful list of mood boosters in HealthyChildren.org.

Quite a few of the tips are common sense, like get outside, no matter what, for at least thirty minutes a day. Dr. Kemper emphasizes, “Bright lights, especially in the early morning, can also help.” I can easily back her up on this. I began getting outside more last April, mainly as a means of lightening my mood, which I did, but additionally, I got to know much more about the land on which I’ve been living for eighteen years.

READ MORE: De-stress your kids: The benefits of nature play

Not surprisingly, Dr. Kemper emphasizes the importance of sleep. This may not be a news flash to anyone who’s endured a night of bad sleep – or no sleep – and suffered extreme grumpiness he next day, or who has been on the receiving end of said grumpiness, but nevertheless it’s good to hear. Dr. Kemper advises using the bed only for sleep, not watching TV or doing homework. A hot shower and a foot rub can help, too. Children should have routine bedtimes. The sense of predictability can ease one into good, deep, restorative sleep.

Protein-rich foods are important. According to Dr. Kemper: “Protein helps keep your blood sugar stable and gives your brain the fuel it needs.” She recommends foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like “fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring); plants (flaxseeds, chia seeds, dark leafy vegetables, kidney beans, pinto beans, soybeans, walnuts, tofu); and certain oils (canola, soybean, walnut).” Also, no junk food, no matter how much you or the kids deserve a treat. The sugar and salt can spike blood sugar, and the resulting crash can bring bad moods.

Other tips: exercise, practice gratitude, and limit screen time for everyone, adults included: “Limit your family's exposure to TV and internet ads suggesting that buying things can make people happy. This will help limit messages about happiness that are false or unrealistic. It will also help you manage your family's exposure to upsetting news. Consider instead: reading, playing cards or board games with family members, working a puzzle as a family, playing music or singing together, making a video to share, cooking together, or taking a family walk or bike ride.”

Also, bear in mind we are almost through this.



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