It doesn’t take long for reality to set in after the hustle and bustle of the holidays and New Year’s passes. The gloomy, cold, icy weather — or all that white and gray outside your window — isn’t about to end anytime soon.
You’re not alone if you’re suffering from a bit of cabin fever. Hundreds of thousands of us suffer from mid-winter depression, of feeling isolated and cooped up as winter drags on.
There are lots of ways to fight the gloom, and today we’ll share a few of those with you.
It might seem like a no-brainer to most and an impossibility if we’re in the middle of a big Southern Maryland snowstorm.
Even just a few minutes spent in nature can lift spirits, says Michelle Gielan, an expert in positive health and wellness. Bundle up and, if there’s a body of water nearby, make that your destination.
“One study shows that just five minutes a day walking by the water boosts our mood,” Gielan says at PsychologyToday.com.
Bring the outdoors in
If it’s just too frosty to get outdoors, it’s time to bring nature into the home. Here are several ideas we’ve rounded up from various experts:
Fill the main living spaces of your home with photos of nature
“A new study has found that just looking at still images of nature is enough ‘natural’ stimulus to lower our stress levels,” says Peter Dockrill at ScienceAlert.com.
Let in more natural light
“One Australian study that measured levels of brain chemicals flowing directly out of the brain found that people had higher serotonin levels on bright sunny days than on cloudy ones,” according to Alice Park of Time magazine.
Serotonin, as you may know, is a substance in our brains sometimes called “the happy chemical” because it helps us feel happy.
Park goes on to say that the effect of natural light on serotonin levels persists, “no matter how cold or hot the weather was.”
Ways to improve natural lighting in your Southern Maryland home include:
- Adding skylights
- Adding more mirrors and other reflective surfaces (mirrored or metallic accents, picture frames, cabinet pulls). In fact, some decorators use one large mirror directly across from a dark room’s largest window to help reflect natural light. Any reflective objects, however, help bounce natural light around a room.
- Consider painting the ceiling with a high-gloss paint. “A glossy ceiling finish reflects light well,” suggests Monique Valeris and Kelsey Kloss at ElleDecor.com.
- Clear obstructions from windows. Obviously, cleaning your windows is the first step here, but trimming trees that obstruct the light also helps. And, although those heavy, dark draperies help insulate the home, consider switching them out for a lighter fabric that allows more natural light to enter the room.
Create an indoor greenspace
Adding houseplants to your home’s main living spaces can help lower stress and improve well-being, according to several studies.
One of these, published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, studied two subject groups. One group transplanted an indoor plant while the other carried out a task on the computer.
After completing the tasks, the gardening group felt significantly “more comfortable, soothed, and natural” than the computer task group. Surprisingly, the gardening group also exhibited significantly lower diastolic blood pressure.
Check out these ideas for creating a mini indoor green space to help lift your mood:
Create a terrarium: Find inspiration online at PopularMechanics.com, BalconyGardenWeb.com and Gardeners.com.
Bring in the houseplants: From a kitchen counter herb garden to pots of greenery scattered throughout the main living spaces, houseplants – especially if you interact with them (watering, transplanting, etc.) – is the next best thing to being outdoors, in nature.
Choose plants that can handle winter’s low and short-duration light levels. These include:
- Arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
- Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
- Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
- Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans)
Choose non-toxic plants if you have pets (especially cats – they love to munch on plants). You’ll find a list of these plants at Gardenologist.org.
If all else fails, move. A study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology finds that moving to an area with more street trees and more greenery in general can help lift moods and increase mental wellness for up to three years.
Now that’s something we can help you with. Reach out to us, and we’ll get to work finding you a lovely Southern Maryland greenspace to call home.
Mechanicsville MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309
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