The winter blues kick in once days get shorter and cooler weather appears. Holidays approach, temperatures plunge and winter doldrums set in even when people stay active and busy. Learn some tips for how to beat the winter blues this season.
Beat the Blues
Finding ways to stay positive during the winter months can feel like a challenge but it is worth exploring other avenues to enjoy, rather than dread, the cooler days ahead.
Brighten up the environment
The body may crave more daylight when there is less sun. Sit next to an artificial light for 30 minutes per day. Open blinds and curtains, trim back tree branches and sit closer to windows for more exposure to sunlight.
Eat smarter and healthier
Certain foods, like chocolate, serve as mood enhancers and relieve anxiety. Other foods like carbohydrates provide temporary feelings of euphoria but may increase anxiety and depression. Find healthy snacks such as low fat, low sugar foods, fruits, veggies and hearty soups to fill the belly.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression which impacts some people starting in late fall or early winter. Some symptoms include:
A dawn simulator brings light into the bedroom gradually over a period of time and may serve as an antidepressant to make it easier waking up for school, work or other commitments.
Walking for up to 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week can improve symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercise under bright lights may also be helpful.
Listen to music
Listening to upbeat or cheery music can improve mood in both the short and long term. Choose songs which have an uplifting beat and bring joy.
Plan a vacation
Planning a trip or getting away can increase overall happiness. Going to warmer destinations can be helpful if cold weather is not preferable. Setting aside time to plan ahead can also save money and put the date on the calendar as something to look forward to once colder weather arrives.
Ladle soup at a shelter or volunteer time to improve mental health and life satisfaction. Serving others can be a great way to meet others and give back.
Taking a walk when temperatures go down can have huge benefits. Spending time outside walking or being active can improve focus, reduce SAD symptoms and lower overall stress. If being outside is not possible, going to the gym can have positive effects even if it’s just to step outside for a few moments to get into the car and breathe some fresh air for a few moments on the way to the gym.
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