Beating the Winter Blues

The winter blues are real, and many of us have experienced them. It’s easy to feel down with short days, cold temperatures, and very little sunshine. These conditions can make it hard to get up in the morning and feel motivated; and they also have the tendency to encourage comfort food cravings. This is why gaining weight is a common side effect of the winter blues, as well as increased chances of longer spells of depression.

Oftentimes the winter blues are mistaken for seasonal affective disorder (SAD); however, not all winter blues are SAD even though they can have similar results. Nearly 11 million Americans suffer from SAD, while many more feel the blues. The difference between the two is in the severity of how it affects everyday life. For example, someone facing the blues just has a hard time getting out of bed in the morning (but eventually does), whereas someone with SAD cannot possibly make it to work on time.

So how can we shake the winter blues?

  • Prevent them. It’s better to beat something before it starts. You can prevent the blues by keeping your Vitamin D levels up. Even as the temperature drops, bundle up and get outside to get some sun on your face. You can also keep your body and mind sharp by maintaining a consistent workout routine, even though hibernation sounds nice.
  • Socialize. Take opportunities to get out of the house and share conversation and laughter with friends. It distracts our minds from the cold temperature and lack of sunlight.
  • Light therapy. Natural sunlight is the best option, so take advantage of the sun by soaking it in when you can; however, there are light boxes you can purchase to keep on your desk or at home that produce a similar type of light that can help provide a Vitamin D substitution.
  • Treat yourself to a massage. Massage, saunas—whatever it is that makes you happy! Having some fun and treating yourself will help keep you chemically balanced.
  • Indulge (a little). Eat a piece of chocolate or enjoy a glass of wine. You don’t need to go overboard or sacrifice your New Year’s resolutions, but be sure to add some “happy” into each day.

In the end, it’s all about finding what makes you happy and doing it while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This can be harder to do in the winter with the blues, but that’s when we need a healthy lifestyle the most. And don’t forget, there is always Florida.