How-to Tame the Winter Blues

As the months get colder, and the days shorter, it is common to experience changes in mood and feelings of depression and exhaustion from lack of sunlight.  Don’t let the winter blues get the best of you this year by following these 5 mood boosting tips!

1. BRING ON THE COLOR

Winter tends to bring about colors associated with sadness such as, grey and blue.  Make a point to decorate your house with colors reflecting the sun.  Studies show that warm colors of red, yellow and orange, uplift the spirit and evoke happiness.  Reds encourage activity and fight depression, oranges bring joy and mend grief, and yellows inspire your mind and reduce negativity.  Use colorful accessories like pillows, candles, tablecloths, flowers, etc. to brighten up your home.  Also, use curtains rather than blinds to allow as much sunlight in as possible.

2. VITAMIN D

As the temperature’s drop, going outside is the last thing that comes to mind.  However, a little fresh air helps cure the winter blues immensely.  Layer up, grab a buddy, or the dog, and go outside for a 20-30 minute walk.  The cool, brisk air and natural sunlight will release your endorphins and give you more energy throughout the day.  This will also help prevent headaches and overeating, symptoms associated with winter depression.  In the winter months, taking Vitamin D each morning can help enhance your mood as well.

3. EXERCISE

It’s tough finding the motivation to get a workout in when all you feel like doing is bundling up by the fire and eating Christmas cookies.  But trust me; exercise is vital for fighting off the winter blues.  According to health experts, “moderate exercisers show lowered blood-pressure levels and a resultant positive mood.” Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three or four times a week, will make you happier this winter. Brisk walking, swimming, lifting weights, and bicycling – all achieve good results.

4. EAT HEALTHY

We all love a good cup of hot chocolate and some comfort food in those colder months but the key is MODERATION.  What you eat has a large effect on you energy level and mood.  However, during the winter, nutrition is that much more important.  Drink lots of water (8 cups) throughout the day and try staying clear of refined and processed foods (white breads, rice, sugar) that only worsen your mood and cause exhaustion.  Aim to incorporate complex carbohydrates (whole grain bread, brown rice, veggies, and fruit) that will provide your body and mind with nutrients and ultimately give you more energy.

5. RELAX & SLEEP

With the daily stresses that consume us, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  If you can make the time, yoga is a great way to calm your mind and get your blood flowing.  Our bodies tend to stiffen up in the winter, causing soreness and joint pain, which is why stretching is important.  Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, keeping your bedtime and waking time consistent.  Though it is tempting during the dark and cold months, refrain from over sleeping because it will only make you more tired.  Instead, take a 30 minute nap in the afternoon to re-energize.

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