Five Ways to Ward off Winter Blues
It's important to stay positive and active through these winter months. Anyone can feel down with the lack of sunshine and cold temperatures, but we want you to take care of yourself - mentally and physically! Here are some tips to warding off the winter blues:
1. Exercise - Exercise is known to increase your levels of serotonin and endorphins, leading to a happier mood. While it's understandable that many people are less than keen about participating in outdoor activities during these chilly months, keep in mind that there are many ways to keep active while staying indoors. Join a gym class, walk on the treadmill while watching TV, or try out a new lively game on Wii.
2. Socialize - Building and maintaining social networks is an important way to keep a positive outlook. When you're feeling down, it's natural to want to isolate yourself from others. But spending time with family, friends, and other people is a sure way to lighten your mood. Try joining a weekly art class or volunteering for a local organization. If you can't bear the thought of leaving your cozy home, then organize and invite your friends over for regular game nights or TV nights.
3. Take Vitamin D - In the summer, we normally get the vitamin D we require from the sun. However, you may not be getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D during the winter because of decreased exposure to sunlight. Many studies have suggested a link between vitamin D deficiency and poor mood. Although more research is needed to confirm that this vitamin can lift your mood, supplementing with vitamin D during the winter months will give you many of the other benefits you may be missing.
4. Keep a regular sleep schedule - Research has shown that lack of sleep may actually lead to anxiety, mood disorders, and depression. To keep a regular sleep-wake cycle, make sure you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It's important to avoid naps throughout the day as they can throw off your sleep schedule. To help get you energized and ready for the day, try sleeping with the blinds open so you are exposed to sunlight as soon as you wake up. Otherwise, try to get out into the bright light as soon as possible.
5. Eat well - Stick to healthier foods that will keep your energy levels up, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and foods packed with protein. This will keep you healthy while giving you the energy you need to stay active and social until a brighter season comes along.