For most of us here in the Northeast, we are in the middle of one of the coldest winters in recent time. For many folks, the cold, dark days that the depth of winter brings can cause a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This can really cause a lot of problems for many folks. There are, however, some proven simple steps you can take to help combat it. This isn't an exhaustive list, but it will get you well on your way to making the most of cold winter days.
Let's take a look at 5 ways beat those winter blues!
Check Your Vitamin D levels
This is a common, but effective approach. Vitamin D levels tend to be lower in the winter because of lack of sunlight. Most adults will need to take at least 5000 IU's per day during the winter in order to maintain optimal levels. Have your levels checked to see what is appropriate for you.
This is one of my favorites, and something I have used for years. A Dawn simulator, sometimes called a sunrise alarm, is a technique used to gently awake you in the morning via progressively brighter light over 10-15 minutes. It is a great tool if you tend to have a hard time getting up in the morning because it is so dark.
One thing that many omit when they are tired from the winter blues is exercise. In reality, it is one of the more important things to help get you out of the winter funk. When it's possible, even if it is just a 30 minute walk, try to exercise outside. The combination of heart pumping exercise and crisp, fresh winter air can really help jump start your mood and energy.
Watch Out For Those Comfort Foods
It can be very tempting during the cold winter months to regularly grab your favorite comfort food. Be careful, as many of these favorites are processed foods high in carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fat. An occasional treat never hurt anyone, but regularly eating these foods has been shown to negatively impact Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Sometimes You Just Need a Break
One sure way to escape the winter blues, is simply to escape winter itself...even if it's just for a few days. If you are anything like me, you just need a few days or so of sunshine and warmth during the winter months. If you are able to get away to somewhere warm, it will give a much needed boost to your spirits...and maybe even a tan your friends will be enviable of.
Whatever strategy you choose, be deliberate and consistent with it. Having a plan as to how you are going to solve something is a great first step, but executing that plan is what will take you where you want to go, and help you...