Focus On: Surviving Winter

Many people experience some form of the 'winter blues' as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. There are ways to combat the lethargy, difficulty sleeping, cravings for unhealthy comfort food, and tendency towards self-isolation associated with winter. Keep reading for some tips!Trees covered in snow.

Image retrieved from Wiki Commons.

Soak up the sun when you can!

The reduced amount of sunlight we're exposed to in the the winter months can lead to a drop in your body's serotonin and melatonin levels, which can affect your mood. Try to spend at least an hour a day outside when the sun is shining. Go for a walk, play outside with your kids, or try a new winter activity like snowshoeing or skiing.

Get some exercise!

There is a lot of research to support the claim that exercise is nature's antidepressant. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week to feel the benefits of increased serotonin and endorphins.

Stay connected!

The urge to hibernate and isolate yourself in winter is strong. Making and keeping plans with family and friends can help by allowing you to focus on the positives, and giving you a chance to talk about how you're feeling.

Make healthy food choices!

Cold winter weather can have you craving heavy, unhealthy comfort foods high in sugar and simple carbs. Choosing more complex carbohydrates - like oatmeal, brown rice, beans, and fiber-rich fruits like berries and bananas - can help you feel more energetic and will keep your mood steadier since they won't cause the same rollercoaster effect on your blood sugar levels.

Try meditation!

Taking the time to relax your body and mind can help to reduce stress, and increase your feelings of well-being. Meditation can also help to regulate your sleeping, which can also help with regulating your mood. Check out our previous blog post by Nick Richbell on his experience with meditation for some tips on how to incorporate the practice into your daily life! 

If you'd like to learn more about Season Affectice Disorder (SAD), read this article on the Homewood Health website. You will need to log in to view the article.