8 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
We have finally reached late-winter season. I don't know about you, but this time of year, the cold seems to drag on longer than I prefer. As much as I try to stay positive, the cold and dark can sometimes make me not only tired and unmotivated, but also depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as winter depression or winter blues, occurs due to less sunlight exposure. This is a common disorder and is very relatable all across the world. If this happens to you, there is no shame in talking to your doctor about it to see what solutions may help you. In the meantime, I have created a list of solutions that personally help me.
1. Take Vitamins
Sometimes we don't get all of our nutrients in our food, even if you're a health-nut. Don't get me wrong, eating healthy enriched foods is still very important. But taking a multi-vitamin as a habit can really help your body and mood. During the winter, several of us miss out on vitamin D because the sun isn't always out. If you are still feeling tired or lethargic even with vitamin enriched foods and a multi - it may be a good idea to ask your doctor for tips and even take a blood test to see if you are lacking anything.
I also like to take a 5-HTP supplement daily that increases serotonin and helps regulate mood and behavior. For me it helps my sleep, mood, anxiety, and appetite.
2. Stay Active
I found that working out really turns my mood around. When I start my day off with a sweat session right before work, I am energized for the rest of my day and feeling so strong - without coffee. Even if you aren't an athlete or enjoy fitness, even a simple short walk is great. Get the blood flowing, stretch the legs. When has anybody regretted a workout or a walk? Your body will thank you.
3. Enjoy Good Company
Whether you have a significant other, close friends, or family - spend time with those that make you feel most empowered and loved. People who make you happy.
This may sound silly, but even spending time with pets can do the trick. Not only is it nice to spend time with those who care for you and vice-versa, but you will be reminded that loneliness is only in the mind.
4. Set Goals
For me, a way to get myself to get things done at times is not only create a to-do list, but mainly, to set goals. Goals can be anything from specific to more broad or long-term. Sometimes goals can be as simple as Saturday errands and workouts. Other times may be getting better at a hobby or working towards a career to benefit my future. Staying productive also allows me to avoid sitting around bored on the weekends and getting in a bad mood.
5. Take Up Hobbies
Sometimes staying busy is crucial if you find your mind wandering into dark territory. Even if you are grateful for everything in your life, depression or mood changes can easily sneak up. Focusing on work can only do so much and eventually can be extremely exhausting for the mind and body. So why not pick up a hobby instead? Choose an activity or passion you love. Hiking up mountains, playing music, painting, reading novels, creative writing for fun... it can be anything. This is your time, so make sure it's something you love and are excited to do; without having the dread of feeling forced.
6. Practice Gratitude
When things go wrong, it can crush my mood and be hard to look passed. Beware my cliche, but instead of seeing the glass half empty, I try to remind myself to look at it half full. When I feel my mood shift that easily, I know I need to re-adjust my perspective. Lately I have been looking into practicing gratitude for that reason and find ways to pick myself back up. I know I am fortunate having a job and income that allows me to have a roof over my head. I also have access to fresh water and able to afford basic healthy foods. These are all simple, but great things we could easily lose sight of daily. By remembering these positive things, it makes my other problems much smaller and I truly do feel more thankful for what I do have.
Journaling is a perfect solution to practice gratitude. Just to jot down ideas and even list what you are grateful for daily only takes a few minutes, but refreshes your mind to stay positive the rest of the day.
7. Get Outside
Whether you want to go on a walk or just sit for a moment. Getting some air (and possibly some sun) could do the body good and refresh your mind. Take a break from work. Even if it's cold. 5-15 minutes of fresh air can solve that bad mood you were in or give you some new perspective on a project you were stuck on. Keep in mind, going outside multiple times a day is recommended as well. This is such a good habit daily, but will become easier once the weather gets warmer.
8. Remember to Smile
My last suggestion is a no-brainer. Just smile! We all know that there has been studies that smiling will eventually trick the brain into happiness, so why not do it even more than usual? For those times you have winter blues especially, remind yourself to smile and laugh. You deserve it and it's great for the soul!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.