Fighting the Winter Blues

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As the clock rolls back and it gets darker earlier, many people begin to feel “down” and gloomy. It’s so easy to give in to the coldness and darkness of winter. There are ways to fight your depressive symptoms in the wintertime. Whether you have seasonal affective disorder, or you just feel blue during the winter months, you should take a look at these simple suggestions.

1. Get enough restful sleep: The bright side of setting the clocks back is that we gain an hour of sleep. Take advantage of it if you need the extra sleep! Also, follow your natural rhythm of wake and sleep cycles. Don’t force yourself to stay up to the time you “always go to bed" if you feel tired earlier. Our bodies crave rest and warmth in the winter months; the extra sleep can boost your productivity and your mood during those chilly winter days.

2. Keep your environment bright: Get outside and enjoy the sunlight as often as you can for some needed vitamin D. In the middle of the day when the sun is the highest try to find 15 mins or more to face the sun. If you don’t have much time to get outside, create as much light in your office or home as you can.  Turn an extra lamp on at your desk or work near a window with the blinds pulled open. A little bit of sunshine goes a long way!

3. See friends or volunteer: Being around people, having conversations and laughing are great ways to stay connected and feel more alive. Take time to connect with those you don’t get a chance to sit and talk to in the sports season or summer months. Another option is to volunteer in your community. Spending time with other people (or animals, if you volunteer at an animal shelter) and knowing that you’re making a difference can help you feel better.

4. Try something different: The holidays are a reminder to spend quality time with family. Family time can be your break, when you’re away from work and forgetting your winter blues. Find an extra hour or two to play a board game together in front of a warm fireplace, watch a movie, or be silly and have a lot of laughs. It’s also a time to give back and try something new. Changing your routine and adding one new activity or hobby can get you out of that winter slump.

Even though the temperatures are down, you don’t have to feel down too! Fight the winter blues and take care of yourself by following these simple tips every day. Use the extra time indoors to recharge, reflect, and relax.  Luckily, winter won’t last forever—it'll be warmer and brighter soon enough.