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How to Avoid the Winter Blues

January 9, 2018 by

It is believed that the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), impacts millions of people in the United States. It can negatively impact people of any age, even children. December 21 is the December solstice, marking the darkest day of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, giving people in New York just over 9 hours and 15 minutes of sunlight, and people in Anchorage, Alaska fewer than 5 and a half hours of sunlight.

With short and cold days in the North during the winter months, people tend to get a bit depressed. If you think that you are suffering from seasonal depression, it is a good idea to seek professional help, but there are also a few things you can do to help make yourself feel better.

First, go for a walk as soon as you wake up after the sun comes up. Taking advantage of this light will help regulate your circadian rhythm and ensure that you are getting high-quality sleep at night. It will also allow you to get some physical exercise. Just a 30-minute walk in the morning can help increase your happiness in the winter.

It is also important to stay active and stick to your normal schedule. Don’t skip the gym after work just because it is cold and dark. Stick to the same schedule all year round to keep consistency in your life. Exercise a vital natural antidote for depression and can help ease anxiety at any time of year.

Make an effort to see your friends during the winter. While people may prefer to stay home, keep your appointments with your friends so you can continue to connect. If you wish, you can just stay in together and reconnect at someone’s home.

If your symptoms of feeling down are so bad that you feel like you are unable to live a normal life, go see your doctor to get some medical help. Being cold all of the time can easily make you feel depressed. If you are able to stay bundled up during the winter months, you have a better chance of beating the winter blues. Make sure to warm yourself up by drinking hot drinks and keeping yourself wrapped up in warm clothes. Also, make sure that your house is nice and warm so you are not always cold when you are at home.

A healthy diet will also help to boost your mood, provide you with more energy, and prevent you from gaining weight during the winter months. Try to trade in your craving for carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes with a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. Celebrate the vegetables that are in season and make a flavorful and warm dish with wintery spices.

Some people choose to use light therapy to help treat their winter blues. You can either do this by purchasing a light box for the inside of your house or making sure that you are working by a window for the majority of the day so you can see the sunlight.

Lightboxes emit a very bright light that is at least 10 times stronger than a light that you would typically find in your home or office. These can enhance your feelings of wellbeing during the darkest days.

Finally, take up a new hobby or do something to keep your mind off of the weather. Is there something that you have been wanting to try but just haven’t found the time yet? Maybe there is a class you want to take or a new skill you want to learn? Look into picking up a new hobby that can keep you occupied and happy for the few months before spring comes.

Remember, there is light at the end of winter’s tunnel. While the months after the holidays can be bleak, it is important to remember that the sun will come out again and the flowers will start to bloom. It just takes a little time to get there.

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