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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Staying Merry and Bright After the Holiday Season

Dec 30, 2022 09:00AM ● By Nancy Seigle

by Lauren Simon 

Many may be feeling the “winter blues” lately. It’s January, and there’s no doubt we are all preparing for chilly weather and several indoor days after a bustling holiday season. 

Changes in the seasons sometimes can mean a change in our mental well-being. In Psychology Today, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Joyce Marter shares the high prevalence of the “winter blues” among Americans and its impact on our overall health. According to Amanda Dyslin from the Mayo Clinic News Network, some experience more severe mental health challenges in the winter months. Depressive symptoms that surface in the fall and winter seasons are often tied to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

Despite the start of winter, there are many ways we can continue to feel our best. Exercise, mindfulness and healthy eating are just a few ways we can start nourishing the mind and body this winter. 


Stephanie Watson of Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests that decreased levels of the mood-boosting hormone, serotonin, may lead to the “winter blues” or SAD. She explains that serotonin levels can be increased through exercise. 

Dr. Michael J. Scarcella, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, believes that walking and running are solid starting points. Allocating time for warmups, cool-downs and stretching is key when exercising in winter weather, according to Scarcella. 

Tai chi, gentle yoga, bike riding and skiing are also some winter workout possibilities depending on your body’s needs, as reported by Ayurvedic practitioner Melody Mischke from Banyan Botanicals. 

Marter also recommends mindfulness practices, such as meditation, gratitude journaling and deep breathing to combat the “winter blues”. Guided meditation apps, such as Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm, can provide a way to build a routine mindfulness practice. 


How we eat also influences our levels of serotonin, and therefore our ability to maintain our mental well-being in the winter, as indicated by the Cleveland Clinic. The clinic lists low-fat or nonfat yogurt, nuts, broccoli, potatoes, peppers and fatty fish as some important foods to incorporate into our meal rotation. 

The ancient Indian wellness system, Ayurveda, provides a holistic perspective to making nutritious winter meals. Mischke advises that room temperature and warm beverages; vegetables such as cooked spinach, radishes and root vegetables; cooked grains; legumes and hot spices are all beneficial choices. She encourages the reduction of cold and frozen foods in the winter. 

Stay updated on ways to eat well and stay fit this winter with Natural Awakenings South Jersey. 

Lauren Simon is a freelance writer with a passion for holistic health and contributor to Natural Awakenings. 

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