How to Beat Winter Blues

Article posted in: Lifestyle

Winter is in full swing and that means shorter days, colder temperatures, and an increased urge to crawl under a blanket and hibernate till springtime. Many of us experience changes in mood with the changing seasons that can include a general feeling of gloom or sadness, decreased energy levels, and the urge to pull away from others. Research from Villanova University shows that these mild symptoms associated with the winter blues affect 10 to 20 percent of Americans.

The research also concludes that sunlight, melatonin, serotonin and vitamin D play an important role in our mood levels. In periods of decreased light exposure (aka winter) our body produces less of the hormone Serotonin, which is associated with alertness and energy, due to a lack of Vitamin D from sunlight, and more of the sleep hormone Melatonin.

While we can’t, and frankly don’t want to, stop winter from bringing the chill every year, we can change how we react to it. Follow these energy-boosting tips to beat those winter blues once and for all:

Relish in the comforts of winter. OK, so the cold can suck. But you know what doesn’t? A hot bath, a fire in the fireplace, cozying up with a hot cup of tea, yummy soups and stews a plenty, knitted beanies and blanket scarfs. The list could go on and on but my point is, embrace all of the goodies that come with the cold weather. Allow yourself to indulge in winter activities that brighten your day.

Follow the light. Countless studies show that light, in the form of natural sunlight or through light-therapy, can boost one’s mood. Easy ways to increase your light exposure are to spend time outside during daylight, as well as in bright, indoor spaces where light can stream in, especially in the early morning hours, and through the use of broad spectrum light bulbs. Just note that if you choose the sunny path to happiness, don’t forget to lather up with broad spectrum sunscreen, especially during peak hours.

Bundle up and get some fresh air. Cabin fever is real and it’s sure to put a damper on your mood. Layer up, get outside, and embark on an activity like a brisk walk or jog. Your exposure to sunlight and fresh air will do wonders for that feeling of ennui.

Exercise consistently. Exercise always has the power to lift your spirits due to the increased level of endorphins created through the exertion. The additional feeling of accomplishment from a healthy exercise routine will be sure to add to your feelings of success and happiness.

Eat healthy. Resist the urge to reach for the comfort foods and sugary treats so common in the winter months. These foods will only give you a temporary energy spike and inevitably add to that sluggish feeling we all wish to avoid.