6 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues

mental health well-being Feb 01, 2019

It’s February and that time of year when things start to drag. There are no more holidays to look forward to (except Valentine’s Day and that doesn’t really count when you are single). It is dark and cold outside. Sunshine and summer seem forever away. Taxes are beginning to hang over our heads. The list goes on...

With the things that are and are not happening during this time of year, it can be difficult to keep our mood up. With that in mind, here are 6 ways to help you combat the Winter Blues:

  1. Go for natural light. When you wake up in the morning open your blinds and curtains. Natural light can influence the production of vitamin D and melatonin in our body which not only affect our mood, but also how tired we feel.
  2. Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural mood-booster. It releases those feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Beyond boosting your mood, exercise can also build your self-confidence and provide that good feeling of accomplishment.
  3. Get enough, but not too much sleep. Find the Goldilocks amount of sleep for you. Keep in mind that 7-9 hours per night is the recommendation for adults. Be wary of oversleeping as it will elicit a hibernation response, leaving you feeling like you want to sleep all night and day.
  4. Eat nutritiously. Did you know your food can affect your mood? To get what your body needs to function at its’ best, eat a variety of vegetables and fruit, avoid highly processed foods, and drink adequate amounts of water. When you fuel well you feel well. Research from University of Warwick and Fruits & Veggies – More Matters 2017 report that subjects who consume a variety of fruits and vegetables per day report greater life satisfaction and happiness.1,2
  5. Practice good stress management. Take regular breaks throughout your day and regularly unplug from your phone, work, etc. Tap in to the resources around you to help you deal with the pressure you have on your shoulders. These resources might be talking with a trusted friend and/or reaching out for professional support. Meditate. Practice relaxation exercises (e.g. deep breathing) to help positively cope with stress.
  6. Connect. When we get in the slumps, oftentimes the tendency is to withdraw socially. Research has found that the strength of our social network is one of the greatest predictors of our health and well-being. Connecting is investing in your relationships. It is creating meaningful interactions, whether that be via text, phone call, handwritten note or through email. While there are a variety of ways to connect, do not overlook the value of regular face-to-face connections. 

 

 References:

  1. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/getting-a-healthy-and-happy-start-to-the-new-year/
  2. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/foods-affect-mood/

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