8 Ways to Fight Those Winter Blues
Words by: Ace Accosta
As seasons change from summer to winter and the cold fronts start coming in, people usually take two stances; they either love it or they absolutely abhor it. There are definitely some good things about winter worth getting worked up about like those cozy sweaters, crisp refreshing air, rainy and snowy days, the holidays and just sitting by the fire with a warm cup of coffee. Other people cannot wait for the freezing temperatures, inconsistent heating bills, shorter days and ice storms to be over. There really is no in between. So if you are a victim to those awful winter blues, here are some tips to get you through the winter!
1. Just Keep Moving
Exercise is something that does miracles physically and especially mentally. Every time you exercise endorphins are released into the body relieving any pain and brightening anybody’s mood. There honestly just isn’t a feeling quite like finishing up a good workout. Running in the cold winter air sounds like heaven to me, but if it is not for you try out something new. Go to a yoga class or give Zumba a shot. What do you have to lose other than unwanted pounds and calories?
2. Don’t Become A Hermit
Something that is very common in the winter is for people to stay indoors more than is healthy. Staying cooped up in one place for very long is just asking for a bad case of the blues. Granted staying inside with some hot tea and a nice book sounds awesome, it is not healthy for you to do that all winter long. The best way to beat going around this is be the social butterfly you are inside. Brave the elements to go out to dinner with an old friend or just hang out with a group of friends or family. You’re not a bear and don’t need to hibernate all winter long!
This sounds totally cheesy and it is cliched, but volunteering and spreading holiday cheer does bring you cheer as well. Studies show that those who volunteer and help others are happier people than those who do not. On top of that, it is so easy to get caught up in the present side of Christmas that it is important to just take a step back and appreciate what it is all about: community.
4. Take A Stroll
Have you ever stopped for a moment to appreciate the beauty of winter around you? Yes it is freezing outside, but it is also gorgeous. Dr. Norman Rosenthal, psychiatrist, Seasonal Affective Disorder specialist and author of the book “Winter Blues” advises his patients to take walks because as he says, “There is something magical about a winter walk. It gives you a powerful morning light cue, and you’ll be able to appreciate nature’s beauty in a way you can’t during the summer months.” Plus, walking is exercise so you can knock down two birds with one stone!
5. Say No to the Sweets
Christmas and winter in general is flush with sugary delights which unfortunately can leave you feeling a bit bleh. Eating nutrient rich foods instead of carb-filled comfort foods will turn your mood around faster than the seasons can change. Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and author of “The Happiness Diet.” says, “Omega-3 is one of nature’s most powerful antidepressants.” Have a bad hangover? Just go straight to eggs or lentils. Dr. Ramsey also preaches this point with, “These are packed with folates which will replenish your neurotransmitters.” Snacking healthy is another way to avoid those awful winter blues. Eating your feelings with Mom’s sugar cookies will not make you feel any better when you get on the scale.
6. Vitamins Are Good
Going along with receiving the right nutrients, it is also important to make sure your vitamin levels are not too low. Vitamin D is crucial in keeping your mood bright and sunny as is with B12.
7. Sunshine State of Mind
Changing your entire perspective from focusing on the negatives of winter to the positives of winter can change your mood. There has to be some little part about winter that you can’t get enough. Maybe it’s snowboarding or even just hot tea by the fireplace, whatever it is focus on the positive and it will grow. If you focus on all of the negatives it will grow like a weed in the garden of your mind.
8. Don’t Give it a Shot
Contrary to the common saying when trying new things, alcohol can be a major proponent with the blues. It can be difficult during the holidays with friends and family all around, but slowing down and pacing yourself can save you days of heartache. As Dr. Ramsey says, “Match every alcoholic drink with an 8 ounce glass of water,” which will help reduce or prevent hangovers.