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10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

February 2, 2015

 

10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

 

We all get down from time to time, especially during the winter.

Whether you call it the winter blues or use the clinical term "Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)," the result is still the same - we feel more anxious, lack energy, and are generally more "blah" than normal.

It is a problem faced by many. According to WebMD, one in four of us will manifest the doldrums during the winter months.

If that describes you, here are ten ways to overcome the seasonal slump.

1. Get as much sunlight as possible

In winter, the days are shorter, so there is less sunlight. It's also colder, which means people don't get out as often. Nevertheless, it is important to soak up as many of the sun's rays as possible. Not only will sunlight help your mood, the fresh air you breath from being outdoors can also boost your mood.

2. Get some exercise

One way to enjoy the sun's benefits is to take a walk on a sunny day. Exercise is beneficial for many reasons, including promoting emotional well-being.

3. Keep warm

Studies have shown that cold weather leads to feelings of depression. It has also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by as much as half.

With that in mind, enjoy a hot drink such as tea or coffee, eat hot food, wear warm clothes and keep your home between 64 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm up by the fireplace if you have one, as that, too, can help to boost your mood.

4. Eat healthy

It is not uncommon to put on extra weight during the winter months, but doing so only further reduces energy. The mood-lifting antidote - eat healthily. Balance your carbohydrate intake by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

5. Maintain healthy relationships

When we feel down, we're less likely to associate with others. Resist that tendency by inviting friends over for coffee or a night out on the town. If you receive an invitation to socialize, accept it. Spending time with friends will encourage you and, who knows, they may need similar encouragement, as well. It's a "win-win" for all.

6. Take a trip to sunnier climates

If you have racked up some frequent flyer miles, the winter may be a good time to plan a trip to sunnier, warmer climates. Just a few days in a more tropical environment can do wonders for your emotional health.

7. Stay active

Instead of reclining on the sofa spending hours binge watching TV, find other ways to occupy your time. Try a new hobby, read an interesting book, join a gym, or keep a journal. Whichever diversion you choose, the main thing is to stay active.

8. Talk about your feelings

When depression hits, don't keep it bottled up inside. Talking with a close friend or professional therapist can help put distance between you and bad feelings. You will gain a better perspective, so things don't seem so bleak.

9. Treat yourself

Even if you got everything you wanted for Christmas, treat yourself with a "present" of some sort. It could be a new outfit, a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant, a day at the spa, some fancy dark chocolate, or whatever makes you happy. Even something inexpensive can do wonders for elevating your mood.

10. Speak with your doctor about antidepressants

If you try all the other tips provided here and still feel depressed, antidepressants may be of benefit. Their use should be considered a last resort, but it may be worth talking with you doctor about whether such therapy might be a right for you.

Conclusion

When you're feeling down, remember the adage, "This, too, shall pass." The feelings of depression you have now won't last forever. Spring is just around the corner, and you'll feel better before you know it. In the meantime, try some of these ten tips and see if they won't help alleviate the winter blues.