5 Ways to Combat the “Winter Blues”
As we turn back the clock this fall, we find ourselves adjusting again to the longer nights and impending winter months when everyone hibernates. You don’t have to let the darkness overtake your mood and seclude yourself. Here are 5 strategies on how to keep the winter blues (also known as SAD – “Seasonal Affective Disorder”) away and adjust to the time change.
1. Exercise Regularly. I know, this is something we should be doing year round but if you’re not yet up to it or only at the gym once or twice a week, here’s your chance to start or ramp up your physical activity. We receive enormous physical benefits to our overall health when exercising regularly but let’s not discount the effect it has on our mood and energy levels. Aside from boosting your immune system keeping your healthy while everyone around you is fighting off a virus, those powerful endorphins somehow put a smile on our face and really correct our frame of mind. A great workout also gives us that healthy glow on our face that makes us feel and look younger!
2. If you can’t make it to the gym, a brisk walk in a park can accomplish the same thing. Before the temperature really dips, enjoy the fall foliage and spend as much time in the sunlight as possible. It’s know that having daily limited exposure to sunlight increases our Vitamin D levels, helps our internal body clock and also helps us stay upbeat. It’s been proven connecting to nature is a natural tranquilizer, creating a sense of peace and reducing stress. You can also snap some shots of the stunning display of colorful trees and collect your favorite leaves to bring inside. These will serve as reminders to get out for another brisk walk, alone or with a friend.
3. Aromatherapy wakes up the senses and enhances your mood naturally. Aside from smelling great, there are many health benefits to incorporating aromatherapy into your everyday life. Depending on your mood or time of day, essential oils like Lemon and Orange are perfect for morning hours or for anytime you want a fresh, clean start. Eucalyptus is known for clearing your sinuses; cinnamon can be used to clear up chest colds and clary sage has antidepressant properties and lowers cortisol levels. Add some to your warm bath to unwind after long work week.
4. Start a new hobby or project! Here are some ideas you can experiment with and see what suits your personality most: learn how to play an instrument, learn a new language, embark on a Do-it-Yourself project at home like refurbishing furniture or redecorating a room, try new recipes or get into baking. Whatever you choose, doing something productive indoors can really give you sense of accomplishment as well as produce more connections in your brain waves. You may surprise yourself and discover that you’ll really enjoy these new hobbies and that they’ill definitely combat the winter blues.
5. Ramp up your community service by volunteering at any one of your local nursing homes, soup kitchens or animal shelters. Giving of yourself, your time and talents is known to take the blues away as we’re reminded how fortunate we are. Develop a class and share it at one of nearby schools for Career Day or any other special program in your community. Making that human or animal connection can make all the difference in the world; giving to others and knowing that selflessness will come back to you when you need it the most will create the cycle of positive energy to get us into the holiday spirit and brighten up our lives and the lives of others.
Try one or all of these ideas to get you inspired, combat the longer nights and stay cheery. You never know who you’ll meet or what hidden talents you have until you try something different and unexpected. “Falling back” means we gain an hour so take advantage and stay upbeat!