Beat The Winter Blues!
Well January is here and the holidays are behind us. The cold temperatures and shortened hours of daylight might leave some of us with the winter "blahs". Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs during this time of year can effect up to 20% of the population. Since it's not always feasible to pack up and whisk your family away to a tropical island, I've come up with a few ways you can beat those winter blues off until spring!
Aroma Therapy -I love using essential oils for everything from fighting off a headache to falling asleep at night. Lavender has been specifically linked to warding off depression.
Keep your resolutions! By now you may have fallen off the new years resolution wagon, but why not hop right back on and start over again? Setting specific goals and reaching them has a huge impact on your self-esteem; which we all know helps keep the gloominess at bay.
Don't be a recluse - I know how easy it is to curl up under a blanket and sleep the days away but studies have shown time and again that socializing with friends and family helps break up the boredom and get you out of that slump!
Get outside - Taking a walk outside can help reduce stress levels and reduce the symptoms of SAD. Better yet, enjoy the white stuff! Take the kids skiing or sledding and get out and play!
Take Your Vitamins -During the winter months the average America's vitamin D levels drop into the deficiency zone. It would be wise to start supplementing these levels. The Endocrine Society recommends adults take 1500-2000 IU/day.
Stay active - Exercise releases endorphins, which can enhance your mood for hours. I recommend 60 min a day three times per week - at minimum! You can also get the same benefits from doing 30 minutes a day 6 days a week.
Eat well - You may be tempted to reach for comfort foods in the winter months but staying healthy and on-track with your food you can keep off the extra pounds and help to keep subside depression. Things like carbohydrates and candy cause a temporary feeling of bliss but they are quickly followed by a sugar "crash" leaving you feeling sluggish and tired.
Try something new - Don't just think about 'getting through' winter; instead try to embrace it as a time when you can tackle indoor tasks, crafts, or hobbies. Join a book club, learn a new skill, organize those closets. Find something productive to occupy your mind.
Smile - Smiling has a way of tricking your body into believing that you're happy, even when you're not. Smiling has been shown to stimulate the immune system, lower stress, and blood pressure.
Serve Others - When we are depressed we tend to turn our thoughts and feelings inward. When we put that focus on helping others we are able to find better meaning in doing good.
Sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the winter months just seem to drag on and on. By making a few small adjustments, you can knock those winter 'blahs' right into spring!