The Arctic air that recently covered most of the northeastern US brought record-setting sub-zero temperatures and wind chill. For many people, these types of conditions can bring on the winter blues or even a more serious depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). During the long winter nights and short, cold days, we get less mood enhancing sunlight which can bring on gloomy attitude changes. Read on to learn five ways you can fend off the winter blues.
1. Get Some Light: Try to get outside when the sun is out and enjoy it for at least fifteen minutes. When the sun isn’t out, consider investing in a light therapy lamp, a device that mimics natural outdoor light by emitting UVB light. This type of therapy has been effective in combating SAD. According the National Health Service in the UK, the light produced by the light box simulates the sunlight that’s missing during the darker winter months, and encourages your brain to reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy, and increase the production of serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood. It is recommended to start with ten minutes a day in front of the light, and then gradually increase your usage to thirty minutes to 1 hour daily until you find a time that is most effective for you.
2. Exercise: Staying active can work as well as antidepressants in fighting the blues. Aerobic exercise, such as swimming, cycling, and fast-walking, releases endorphins which are chemicals that help you feel good. Exercising two to three times a week can help reduce feelings of moodiness and depression, so swim indoors, head to the gym, or dress warmly and go for a fast-paced walk.
3. Eat Right: Maintaining a healthy diet can help fight off low energy and sad moods. Fruits and veggies of deep green or orange, like broccoli, kale, and carrots, have nutrients that promote better mood and total health. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains can boost your energy and are vital year-round. Foods to consider adding to your diet to help boost your mood include fatty fish, dark chocolate, fermented foods, bananas, oats, berries, and nuts and seeds. Sunlight is a source of vitamin D, a nutrient linked to sharper thinking and better emotional health, so check with your doctor about whether a vitamin D supplement is right for you.
4. Nurture Yourself: Whether you need to slow down and curl up in a cozy chair with a good book or stimulate your senses with bright colored walls or energizing aromatherapy such as peppermint essential oil, you need to take the time to do whatever will nurture your spirit. You can take up a new hobby to bring light into your life. Whether it’s crafting, knitting, cooking, or something else, you’ll find satisfaction from learning something new. A hobby can help you find joy in spending time alone or connect with others who have the same interest. Spending time with friends and family can also lift your spirits. Set up designated times to be with friends and family through weekly dinners, regular FaceTime calls, happy hour or whatever you need to do to keep in touch with your support circle.
5. Be Grateful: It’s easy to focus on all the parts of your world that aren’t going well. Keep a gratitude journal and try to write down what you’re grateful for each day. It will help you to be mindful of the moment. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of winter, embrace the season and find things you like about it, things that are going well, and things you are grateful for in your life. Training your brain to think more positively can help you feel better physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
We hope these suggestions will guide you towards staying happy and healthy during the winter season. If the blues continue, consider seeing a mental health professional who’s trained in Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This treatment can be very effective for seasonal affective disorder.
We appreciate you reading our blog. You can contact Raynor & D’Andrea Funeral Home at
1-800-737-0017. Or you can drop us a message here.