After the excitement of the holidays has waned, many people experience the “winter blues,” characterized by lack of motivation, mild depression and low energy. Some people develop true seasonal depression when the temperature drops and snow blankets the ground while others suffer from a more mild melancholy, but these tips can help you banish the blues until spring.
Make “Feel Good” Chemicals
Exercise doesn't just help you stay physically healthy and fit; it is also a great stress reliever that releases “feel good” compounds that boost your mood. The effects of a great workout can carry you throughout the day, giving you more energy and increased mental clarity long after you hit the showers.
Eat a Balanced Diet
It's easy to fall into a habit of eating winter “comfort” foods like warm macaroni and cheese, sweet baked goods and crusty bread fresh from the oven, but these foods are actually not that comforting. Processed and refined foods like sugar, rice and white flour can seriously affect your mood and kill your energy levels, leaving you with mood swings, a decreased ability to concentrate and more depressed feelings.
To better fuel your body and mind, eat a balanced diet all winter long that consists of more complex carbs, like brown rice, fruits and whole wheat products. These foods stabilize your blood sugar so you experience less mood swings, keep your energy levels high and give your body the nutrients it needs to feel its best.
Get Some Sun
Don't let the cold weather and shorter days stop you from getting rays. Sunlight is a top source of vitamin D, and when that is lacking, you may feel depressed. Bundle up and take a short walk outside each day to drink in the sun, keep your curtains pulled open during the day or swap your regularly light bulbs for full spectrum ones that better mimic natural light.
Embrace the Season
All seasons offer something special and unique, including winter. Instead of wishing away the months until spring, embrace them by indulging in their best offerings! Try a new winter sport, like hockey, snowboarding or ice skating, go sledding with your kids, build a snow fort in the back yard or challenge your friends to a snowball fight. Once you find an activity you love, you'll start eagerly anticipating it come next autumn, and you will welcome winter with open arms.