Eight Ways to Negate Winter Blues
If the Holidays have left you feeling exhausted or even moody, know that you are not alone. It may be time to throw out the leftovers, including the sugar cookies and fudge. Time to get outside and take a walk or drag ourselves to the gym. However, it can seem more difficult to get out of bed, when it is cold, wet and gloomy outside.
Somebody wake me when it is springtime!
Most of us experience some form of "winter blues" as characterized by a mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy during this cold season. If you experience more severe symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, you may want to ask the advice of your doctor. To fend off the doldrums and combat typical winter blues, experts recommend the following: 1. Exercise Your Way
Any sort of physical activity helps relieve stress and anxiety. Whether you walk the dog, bike, ski, practice yoga, dance or run, the main thing is you get moving. Moving our bodies is not just about losing weight; it is great for relieving stress and elevating our mood. Time to update your music playlists and motivate yourself to move! 2. Eat Smart Carbs
We crave carbs because it increases serotonin in the brain, but the unhealthy carbs such as processed foods and high sugar choices can affect mood, memory and zap our motivation. Eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, and brown or wild rice to get proper nutrition without the mood swings caused by sugar. 3. Seek the Sun
Get up early to catch that morning light and open the curtains or blinds to let natural light in when possible. We know that sunlight provides us with Vitamin D. Sunlight exposure also releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Some people invest in light therapy lamps or boxes, but changing the light bulbs in your house to "full spectrum" bulbs can also help.
4. Honor Yourself
You are the only person like you, and only you can honor your own wishes and life. Take some time to consider which behaviors will support your mental, emotional and physical health in the New Year. You have a right to feel happy, secure and cared for in all aspects of your life. You are just the person to make that happen for yourself. You have the brains, the talents, the strength and the drive to steer your own life.
5. Treat Yourself
Make plans and having something to look forward to in the New Year, whether it is a weekend trip, a spa day, a night out on the town or just time for yourself. Make it a habit to set up a time and day on your new calendar to include fun and relaxation. We have all been guilty of too much television, and binge watching our favorite shows. Try reading more books or magazines, for mental stimulation and feel good escape. 6. Support a Friendship
We get what we give, so invest in people. People are powerful sources of encouragement and love. Spend time with friends, family, mentors, co-workers and neighbors. It may be a simple phone chat or a quick morning ritual to get out and have a coffee that makes the difference in your day.
7. Sleep On It
The saying, "Never go to bed angry" is well meaning advice for couples, but sometimes things that seem gloomy at night, have a way of looking better in the morning. Agree to sleep on it, and lovingly allow your partner and you to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. When we are sleep deprived, we are grumpy and not thinking clearly. Make bedtime rituals and waking time consistent. That way, your sleeping patterns can normalize and you will have more energy. If you have trouble sleeping, ask your doctor about taking a very low dose of melatonin in late afternoon, which may correct delayed body rhythms found in some people.
8. Make Space
Good things need space to thrive, grow and enter our lives. Get rid of old habits, worn out ideas, regrets, unforgiving attitudes, anger…anything negative that is taking up valuable space and time in your life. Get rid of the closet clutter, but most importantly resolve to get rid of anything that hampers your mood. Let in the light, the love, the peace, the joy and the space for all good things to enter this New Year!