Another holiday season has come to an end, but we still have a few months left before April showers and May flowers. So how do you bridge the gap without falling prey to the winter blues? There’s no doubt about it: This time of year can be challenging. Cold temperatures and dreary weather can put a damper on your mood – sometimes even leading to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Symptoms include fatigue, low motivation, and even weight gain. The good news: there are plenty of ways to manage symptoms of SAD and general seasonal malaise. Scroll down to find out how to beat the winter blues and make the most of the winter season.
How to Beat the Winter Blues
Snack the Winter Blues Away
Foods like pasta, pizza, and chocolatey desserts are called comfort foods for a reason. When you’re feeling down, it’s common to crave these feel-good treats. However, carb and sugar-heavy foods can leave you feeling even more lethargic, increasing your junk food cravings over time. This winter, do your best to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean protein like chicken and turkey. You might also chat with your doctor about supplements. Seniors who spend most of their time indoors during the winter may develop a vitamin D deficiency, which can result in depression and muscle pain if untreated. Fortunately, deficiencies like this one are easily treated with vitamin supplements. Finally, try to limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol can negatively affect your mood, the effectiveness of certain medications, and the quality of your sleep.
It’s impossible to deny the full-body benefits of exercise, especially when your workout involves getting out and enjoying sunny weather. But did you know that exercising outdoors in the winter has similar benefits, even when the weather is gloomy? Exercising releases endorphins, which serve as your body’s natural mood elevator. Exercising outdoors – even on a cold and cloudy day – exposes you to vitamin D, another natural mood booster. And if you don’t feel like running a marathon in the middle of January, don’t worry – it’s okay to start small. Work your way up to strolling outdoors for half an hour each day. Just don’t forget to bundle up with gloves, a hat, and slip-proof boots to protect yourself from the elements.
It can be hard to find things to smile about in the middle of a cold, gloomy winter. Fortunately, you can create your own sunshine indoors. Turn on your lights, open the curtains and blinds, and consider adding extra lamps in darker areas of your home. You can also purchase special sun lamps known as SAD lamps, which can help boost your mood and improve the quality of your sleep.
Stay Connected with Loved Ones
It might be difficult to get together with loved ones right now, and winter weather takes its toll. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay connected. Video chat services like Skype and FaceTime make it easier than ever to talk to loved ones face-to-face, even if they’re located hundreds of miles away. You can also engage with friends and loved ones on social media. Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative. Technology makes it easy to attend remote church services, enjoy remote movie-watching parties, and more – all from the comfort of your couch.
Are you feeling the onset of the winter blues? Rest assured that you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to tackle the mood-lowering effects of winter. Focus on treating your body right with a nutritious diet and plenty of low-impact exercise, and don’t forget to nurture your social connections with tools like social media and Skype.
Make it a goal to embrace the winter season this year. Who knows – with a little creativity, you might find that winter is becoming your favorite season.
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