Winter is almost here! As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, we could all use a little pick-me-up to put a bounce back in our step. The "winter blues" can be caused by the mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy that many people experience during the cold season. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to either prevent the blues from coming on or get unstuck if they are already here.
Try To Eat A Healthy Balanced Diet
What you eat can greatly alter your mood and energy levels. Try avoiding refined and processed foods like white bread, rice, and sugar. These foods lack the nutrients your body is craving and can zap your energy levels which affect your mood. This can cause depression, lack of concentration, and mood swings. More complex carbohydrates, like whole wheat breads, brown rice, veggies and fruit, with 8 cups of water daily can provide your body (and mind) with nutrients, while stabilizing your blood sugar and energy levels.
Exercise Whenever You Can
Exercise to keep your body and mind healthy. The effects of a good workout can last for several hours. Exercise also helps your mind by releasing those "feel good chemicals" such as endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which improve your mood. So, take a dance class, hit the slopes or join an indoor soccer team. Plain and simple, find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it! If you get bored, try something new. (As a general rule, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day but remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program).
Get Some Sun
Vitamin D is important but did you know that the sun improves your mood? Winter days tend to be darker than other months, and because of the cold weather, a lot of people spend less and less time outdoors. Lack of sunlight can cause many people to become depressed. Similar to exercise, sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Try to spend a little more time outdoors. Keep your shades up during the day to let more light in and sit near a window when you can. Try changing the light bulbs in your house to "full spectrum" bulbs. These mimic natural light and actually have the same effects on your mind as the real thing.
You Can Also Try To;
Act on your Resolutions – set a goal and achieve it. There's no better feeling than doing what you set out to do.
Avoid Binge Drinking – alcohol is actually a depressant, and rather than improving your mood, it only makes it worse.
Treat Yourself – plan something exciting, your mood improves when you're anticipating it and even more when the event actually comes.
Relax – read a book or magazine, sleep in on the weekend, go to bed early, try some meditations, or take a yoga class.
Take a Nap – a short (10-30 minute) afternoon nap may be all you need to re-energize midday on weekends. (And try to aim for 7-8 hours each night to get through the long, dark days).
Make an EFFORT - Embrace the Season
Instead of always avoiding the cold and the snow, look for the best that it has to offer! Take up a winter sport like ice skating, snowboarding, hockey, or even sledding! Enjoy these opportunities while they last, after all, they're only here a few months a year. Staying active will boost your energy. Seeing winter in a positive light, with all the fun activities that it has to offer, will keep your spirits high!
Please note that the above was compiled from various sources and that Effort Trust does not recommend nor warrant any of the information given. Always consult a physician.