Solutions For The Winter Blues

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Solutions For The Winter Blues

As winter flexes its icy grip and the days get shorter, you can be excused if you get the blues – especially those of us in the Midwest who are a little envious of our friends who get to enjoy the beautiful Florida and California weather!

But don’t despair, even if you find yourself with flagging energy, sleeping longer hours or feeling apathetic, there are ways to take control of your feelings during the winter months.

Let’s run through some!

Exercise – This is one of the most important things you can do to stay happy all year long. And outdoor exercise is best, so invest in some outdoor winter clothing so you’re relatively comfortable. A Harvard study suggests that walking fast about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week improves mild to moderate depression. If you can’t get outside, there are plenty of exercises you can do right in your own home, from aerobics to body weight exercises.

Diet – A healthy diet is key. Stick to the vegetables, fruit and protein sources and healthy fats. Carbs and sugary foods can be hard to resist during the holidays but do your best. And if you live quite north of the equator, top off your diet with vitamin D.

Light – Sitting next to an artificial light (a light box) for 30 minutes a day can be as effective as an antidepressant medication. But as Kelly Rohan in the psychology department of the University of Vermont suggests, “If you decide to pursue light therapy, it is strongly recommended that you do so under the supervision of a qualified professional because of the possibility of side effects and because light therapy can affect your sleep.”

Other ideas include planning a trip, embrace the winter like Scandinavians do, break out some upbeat music and, most of all, cut yourself some slack. Be patient and know that, just as surely as spring follows winter, these feelings will fade with the change of seasons.

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