How many of my Northern friends need to read this post today??? How much snow have you gotten??
If you’re like me, Spring can’t get here soon enough. It seems like I’m in love with Winter from about Thanksgiving through Christmas and then I just want to fast forward to the warmer days, flowers blooming and taking long walks on the greenway. Welp. Sorry to say but we still have a few weeks to go of short days and cold weather. It’s very common this time of year to experience a phenomenon called the, “Winter Blues” or “seasonal affective disorder,” a mild state of depression that is accompanied by low energy and a lack of motivation. Anyone can experience seasonal depression, but it seems to affect women more than men. I know that I myself have felt the blues a few times (and I don’t even live in a really cold part of the country!).
While there is no permanent “cure”, here are few tips that will help you beat those winter blues!
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days per week! Exercise has been proven to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, a “feel good” chemical that helps to lift our moods! If you can, try to incorporate strength training into your daily movement – this will also release “happy” chemicals similar to antidepressants!
2. Catch some rays!
Similar to exercise, sensible exposure to sunlight aids in the release of serotonin in the brain, while also generating the release of Vitamin D from your skin – TWO things that will help fight off depression. Spending just 15 minutes outside will make the rest of your day more bearable. If it’s too cold to venture outside, try investing in some compact fluorescent bulbs. This type of “indoor light therapy” has been shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of depression and seasonal affective disorder (source).
3. Watch your diet.
Our diets can effect every aspect of our life, especially our moods. Even though brownies and cobblers sound more appealing, you won’t feel as fresh and energized eating junk as you would with whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. These nourishing foods will provide your body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are needed for cell renewal. I always have a BIG green salad made up each week so the decision to reach for greens is much easier!
4. Invest in Peppermint Oil!
Dabbing peppermint oil on your pulse points (wrist and neck) has been shown to help with sadness and depression! Another idea – add 5-10 drops of essential peppermint oil into a pot of warm water. Simmer on your stove until the water completely evaporates. Your entire house will be filled with a wonderful smell and your mood will lift! <-OR buy a diffuser. We have this one and I keep either lavender, peppermint or lemon oils running in it.
5. Find a winter hobby!
Instead of fighting against Winter, make friends with it! Try out a winter hobby, such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating. Volunteer to shovel snow at your local nursing home or hospital. Enroll your kids in winter sports and then get out of the house and go cheer them on. While it’s not really a winter sport, Travis and I have been playing Ultimate Frisbee with a local group almost every Sunday afternoon since before Christmas. Try to stay busy with activities that make you happy.
QUESTION: How do you combat the winter blues??