It’s here. Gray skies, blustery temperatures, and less daylight are all signs that winter has arrived. Quickly, before winter blues set in, try these tips to ward off those bluesy, down feelings.
1) Get in sync with the dark and light
In winter, we typically don’t get enough light in the daytime. At night, we also tend to be bombarded with too much light while trying to sleep.
Try setting a timer hooked up to a fluorescent lamp so it goes on one hour before your alarm clock goes off. This will help simulate an artificial dawn to get your body active earlier in the day.
At the same time, cover up artificial sources of light that may be on while you are sleeping such as clock displays, TV or computer lights, and pull those shades tight to block out street lights. This artificial illumination interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep better.
The moment you are up, open those curtains and flip on the lights. Consider investing in a SAD light if you still feel starved for the sun.
2) Change your environment to get ready for cold
Instead of fighting winter, embrace it.
Break out warm comforters and fleecy blankets and spread them around in the rooms where you spend most of your time. Use your fireplace or splurge for an electric one to treat yourself.
Remove the screens and wash your windows to bring in more sunshine. Leave the curtains open during winter to bring in more light in the daytime, but be sure to close them all at night so you are not looking at black glass, which will make you feel colder.
Transfer those summer clothes down to the bottom drawers or into boxes while you move your sweaters and turtlenecks up to higher ones for easy reach.
3) Get outside
Bundle up and go for a brisk walk. Aerobic exercise acts to raise serotonin levels which may be low, contributing to those winter blues.
While you are outside, pay special attention to things that are more beautiful in the winter such as ice and frost formations and the sharp crispness of the air. Notice how far you can see when the leaves are off the trees.
4) Consume foods for your mood
Raw chocolate is high in phenylethylamine and anandamide, which directly stimulate feel-good chemicals, and theobromine which can give you a mid-day boost without the side effects of coffee.
Fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which were found in a 2002 study to decrease symptoms of anxiety, sleep disorders and feelings of sadness, according to besthealthmagazine.
Eat more of a Mediterranean diet that includes a lot of fresh fruit, nuts, vegetables and beans. A Spanish study evaluated 1,000 men and women, and showed that a diet high in folate, a water-soluble B vitamin occurring naturally in foods, reduced depression in men, WebMD reported. The study also found that a diet high in vitamin B12 helped the women.
Folate is found in Mediterranean diet staples like legumes, nuts and dark green vegetables. Vitamin B12 can be found in lean and low-fat animal products and low-fat dairy products.
5) Invite friends over for a soup night
Let winter be an excuse for inviting friends over for hot bowls of soup. You provide two or three types of soup and let everyone else bring salad, breads and dessert. Mark it on your calendar so you have something to look forward to. Go out and buy fresh flowers to put on the table to bring a little spring to your meal.
6) Give in to TV urges
Okay, if the weather is especially bad one day, give yourself an excuse to watch a movie marathon. Pop some popcorn, snuggle on the couch and spend the day catching up on all those episodes of your favorite TV show or movies you never took the time to watch.
Remember, winter doesn’t last forever. It will be spring before we know it. Soon we can enjoy how amazing Mother Nature is as she places those little green leaves and buds on each tree that grow into full-color blooms, just in time for the temperatures to rise.
How To Beat The Winter Blues And Avoid Cabin Fever. CBSSFBAYAREA.com. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2014.
How to Fight Winter Blues. Wiki How to Do Anything. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2014.
How Food Affects Your Moods. WebMD. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2014.
5 foods that will boost your mood. Best Health. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2014.
Take steps to beat the winter blues by MARSHA STOPA. Winter Blues Coach. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2014.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues.
Edited by Jody Smith