It’s getting darker earlier in the evening. The weather is turning colder. As the world seems to be powering down into deep hibernation mode, you may also be feeling somewhat lifeless. The good news? The winter blues are normal.
As the seasons change, a gloomy mood and a woeful lack of energy are common reactions. It’s estimated that 20 percent of the U.S. is afflicted, and five percent of Americans suffer from full-on depression, battling seasonal affective disorder (also fittingly known as SAD).
But there are ways to fight back! These simple solutions can help undo the cold-month blahs.
Recharge: Tap into your energy
During winter, it’s important that you take care of both your mind and body. As sunlight is harder to come by, your internal body clock and sleep patterns can get thrown off by the seasonal shift. Chilly temps threaten your ability to get out of bed, but getting enough sleep and then waking at earlier hours, which increases exposure to daylight, can help lighten your mood.
It’s also essential to stick to a regular exercise routine. Cozying under blankets has its place, but too much sedentary behavior can do damage to both your physical state and mood. Keeping your body in motion does wonders to clear the mind and provide very necessary boosts of self-care.
Revive: Eat up
Beware the urge to binge on carbs, sugars, and white starches. Instead, try meals designed to keep your spirits high. Go for lean proteins like fatigue-fighting salmon or the calming tryptophan and melatonin of turkey. Seek out the vitamin D you lose from sunlight in foods such as eggs, milk, and mushrooms. Offset stress with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Enjoy better sleep and less anxiety with vitamin-rich bananas. And don’t forget the chocolate. The antioxidants of the high-cocoa, dark variety can help lift your mood deliciously.
Reconnect: Nurture your network
After the holidays, many hole up at home, blaming the weather for avoiding social gatherings. But isolation is no solution. Shake off the winter blues by meeting loved ones and planning fun outings with your besties. Better still, volunteer for a cause with your closest friends. Knowing that you’re helping those in need will most likely provide a much-needed pep in your step.
The winter blues are real, but you can conquer them with proper sleep, exercise, diet, and the warmth of relationships during the coldest months of the year.