It’s that time of year when the winter feels long and Spring is on the brain. Any dose of sunshine we see is the ultimate mood booster. As I am writing this post from my Mid-western home in the suburbs of Chicago, today was yet another cold, extremely windy, and very gray day. January and February are the loooong months in the Mid-west. I have had several conversations with friends that are struggling with the blues, the blas, and the ughs.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
You don’t have to be diagnosed with SAD to feel the brunt of the winter months. Here are some tips for anyone.
1. Open the blinds.
The first thing I do when I come downstairs in the morning in open the blinds and the curtains. Even if the sun is not shining, letting in some of the daylight is sure to have a positive effect.
2. Head outside.
The fresh air, even if it’s cold, does the body good. Especially on those sunny days, get out there! Stuck in an office with no view? Take your lunch break to step outdoors, even for only a few moments and sniff the crisp air!
3. Include physical activity in your daily routine.
DUH!! This coming from your trainer, sure. But did you know this is more science than just good advice? This article from lifehacker.com is a must read to understand why exercise literally makes you feel better!
No matter what is going on in my life-physical, mental, or emotional; exercise has proven to be my best medicine…maybe that’s why I love it!
It is so nice and cozy in the house. It gets darker earlier, which means, pj’s on earlier, which means lots of relaxation and Netflix. Maybe that is not always the best thing to do. Putting yourself together, getting out, and being around others is uplifting, and sometimes just what the doctor ordered to combat the winter blues. Dinner and drink, painting classes, road trips, wine tastings, book club and more are just a few things you can get out and get doing!
5. Vitamin D
Our bodies produce vitamin D from the sun’s rays hitting our skin. When there is not as much sun and you’re indoors more, there’s less Vitamin D being produced. A simple blood test can determine your vitamin D level. Check with your doc to see if a vitamin D supplement would be beneficial to you!
6. Plan a trip.
Even if you can’t take a cruise for spring break, plan a weekend getaway that is local. Getting out of routine and seeing/experiencing something new is a great way to break up the winter weeks!
We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues. -webmd.com
Next time you are at the store help out a friend and buy a funny card. The surprise in the mail, as well as the laugh is the best!
And laughter appears to burn calories, too. Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study in which he measured the amount of calories expended in laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories. -webmd.com
9. Get involved in some winter sports.
Cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or a winter walking club are just a few suggestions. Changing your mindset to enjoying winter and what it has to offer, rather than just trying to get through it could help!
10. Picture this.
Call me crazy, but looking back at pictures of the summer, the beach, of sunny days lifts my mood! Frame one of your favorites for your desk, or keep in the fridge. Viewing them often helps me to remember that I always get through the winter, and sunny days are ahead!
I had a good friend tell me that if it were sunny every day she would take it for granted. No matter your feelings on winter, love it or hate it, if you are feeling extra tired, fatigued, unmotivated, or sad, the season could be playing a role in that. If these simple tips don’t help you out much, do not hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.
How do you like to beat the winter blues?