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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

Beat the Winter Blues

Shedding Light on Seasonal Sadness

Dark mornings, darker evenings, and chilly gray days in between means winter is here - and with the coldest season comes the winter blues. There’s no clinical diagnosis for the “winter blues,” but the so-called winter blues is fairly common and is usually marked by feeling tired, irritable than usual, sad, or less energized.

If you’re starting to feel like nothing but a very full, very strong pot of coffee will get you out of bed, you are not alone. This doesn't mean we should blindly accept the blues because it's more of an indication that something in your life needs attention.

And yes I am here with a bunch of things that can lift your mood.

This winter, try these bad-mood zappers to beat the winter blues and stay well all season long:

1. Lace Up Your Running Shoes and Get Moving

Getting at least 20 minutes of vigorous activity four times a week has been shown to reduce depressive mood. And there are a variety of ways to get moving; it doesn't always mean weight training or a 10K run, you can be creative; run up and down the stairs, hit the park and do some pullups on the monkey bars in between the swing and slide rides. No one said exercising needs to be one activity fits all.

2. Get into the Right Mindset

Embrace winter as a time to slow down, enjoy being at home, and spend time inside with friends and family. You can also improve your mood by using this time to plan things to look forward to in the future.

3. Stick to a Sleep Routine

Tempting as it might be to sleep in on dark mornings, it’s best to stick with a regular sleep schedule - which means waking up at the same times on weekdays and weekends. Establish a routine wake-up time and a soothing bedtime ritual.

4. Take Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D plays a role in regulating mood, maintaining optimum blood sugar levels and boosting our immune systems, but one of the main natural sources of vitamin D is sunlight. This means that a large proportion of the winter blues population are deficient in vitamin D during the winter months.

5. Warm Yourself Up With Some Hot Chocolate

Get cozy with some homemade hot chocolate. This drink gives a wonderful sense of something delicious, a treat, and a ritual to look forward to on those cold days. (I have a whole list of hot chocolate variations I wanna try out this winter; a s'mores hot chocolate, a Mexican hot chocolate, a gingerbread hot chocolate and the most outrageous one of all, the messy slow-cooker hot chocolate. Please send more suggestions.)

6. Help others

This is the oldest trick in the book, if you aren't feeling your best, help someone else. That is an immediate mood booster trick be it summer or winter blues. Helping others either in your family or community will elevate your happiness and as a result help someone else in need. The classic win-win situation.

7. Consider Light Therapy

If it's dark all the time how are you going to get your daily dose of natural sunshine?

If you have the flexibility and the weather allows for it, schedule in an early-morning walk or lunchtime stroll. If you don’t, consider getting a therapy lamp to have near by during the day.

8. Check Something Off Your Bucket List

One way to motivate yourself when you're struggling is to do something for yourself. What have you been meaning to do that always seems to fall to the end of your list? Read a particular book? Start a new project? Take up a new hobby? Learn a language? Start setting aside time to do something for yourself that you've been meaning to do, it's good for your mental health and will help reenergize you.

9. Fresh Air

Even though it is cold outside, bundle up and make sure to get some fresh air. Getting fresh air increases your energy, reduces stress and depression and improves the quality of sleep. Make it a point to go outside and go for a walk to clear your head.

10. Don't Hesitate to See Your Healthcare Professional

If you are suffering and nothing you try is working, you should seek professional help. No one needs to suffer alone and needlessly, so reach out to a therapist and talk to a health care provider.

Though winter blues goes away on its own, it can also be an indication of something else that needs to be addressed. Please don't ignore this, you deserve to be happy even in your darkest moments. Take control of your wellbeing.

If you have any tips on how to boots your mood or ease some of that winter blues sadness, please leave a comment below or connect with me on Instagram.


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