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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Five Tips to Beat the Winter Blues

Dec 30, 2021 09:00AM ● By Nancy Seigle

Fourteen percent of Americans feel a bit sad about being indoors for long periods in the winter than in the summer and do not like that it is darker for longer periods.  

People who experience this condition, often call it the “winter blues”, However, you do not always have to wait until springtime to feel better. Here are five tips for beating the condition:  

1. EAT WISELY 

Eating healthy foods helps the body stay alert longer, which may help boost one’s mood according to Dana Hunnes, a clinical dietitian at the University of California at Los Angeles. “A meal that takes time to digest and steadily releases blood sugar helps ensure your energy remains high and your mood stays positive,"  she continues. To see this benefit, add whole grains, healthy proteins, fruits or vegetables, and small amounts of nuts and cheese as possible to the grocery cart, and limit consumption of foods with high amounts of processed carbohydrates and sugars.  

2. GO OUTSIDE (AND CONSIDER DOING  
SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES JUST STANDING THERE) 

Geisinger, a health system based in Pennsylvania, says on its website (Geisinger.org) that stepping outside occasionally will “expose your body to more natural light” and improve your mood. Additional mood-enhancing benefits may be obtained by activities like briskly walking, running, biking, and indoor swimming, since doing so “releases chemicals called endorphins that boost your mood,” 

3. MAKE PLANS TO STAY BUSY  

“An unstructured day is a recipe for feeling purposeless, and that can lead to depression,” Christine Whelan, a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin tells ConsumerReports.org. In other words, find things to do, whether they be small, like “sewing on that missing coat button, paying bills, or finishing a puzzle” or large, such as “finding ways to contribute to your community,” the website continues. Either type of activity should help improve your mood.  

4. CREATE AND KEEP A SLEEP SCHEDULE 

The American Society of Administrative Professionals (asaporg.com) encourages going “to bed at the same time every day” and resisting the temptation to take naps or sleep different hours on weekends. The group says a regular sleep schedule (about 7 hours’ worth in each 24-hour cycle) helps avoid mood changes linked to sleep. 

5. IF NEEDED, SEEK ADDITIONAL HELP 

If the winter blues last more than a day or two and are accompanied by decreased levels of energy and joy, and higher amounts of irritability and appetite, it may be seasonal affective disorder that’s occurring and not the winter blues, Cleveland Clinic’s website says. If so, usa.gov encourages calling the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration 24-hour helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or finding a physician to ascertain the best treatment.  

Jaycee Miller is a freelance researcher, blogger, and writer living in New Jersey. 

 

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