Beat the Winter Blues

With darker mornings, shorter days, and gray weather, it’s no wonder that so many people feel blue during the winter months. The winter blues are relatively common and can cause you to feel sad and less energized. Some who feel depressed during the winter may actually have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), though this must be diagnosed by a mental health professional. This is a form of major depression and can cause feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and more.

Though the winter blues are a milder version of SAD, you shouldn’t just ignore your symptoms. Read on below to learn a few ways you can beat seasonal sadness this winter.

Enjoy Sunlight However You Can

Two of the primary causes of the winter blues are shorter days and worse weather. This means that your body is not able to get the sunshine and vitamin D that it needs to be healthy. During the winter, enjoy sunlight as much as you can. Go outside first thing in the morning for a 20-minute walk. Open the curtains and enjoy coffee by the window. You can also purchase a lightbox which is meant to simulate sunshine and can be just as effective as combating depression with antidepressant medications.

Get Moving

Another way to relieve your winter blues is by exercising. Research shows that getting at least 20 minutes of exercise four times a week can alleviate the symptoms of depression. Consider getting a gym membership so you can stay warm and exercise comfortably inside. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, as long as you get up and get moving.

Maintain a Sleep Routine

Though it might be tempting to sleep in on those dark winter mornings, it is much better for your body to stick to a regular sleep routine. This means going to bed around the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.

Make sure you are getting at least seven solid hours of sleep every night. If you have difficulty falling asleep at night, create a soothing bedtime ritual, get rid of any noisy distractions, and ensure your sleep environment is dark, cool, and comfortable.

Eat Better

Believe it or not, the food you eat has an impact on your mood. Sugary candy and carbohydrates can offer temporary highs, but will ultimately lead to an increase in feelings of anxiety and depression. On the other hand, some foods, like chocolate, can improve your mood and provide relief from stress. Watch what you’re eating and stick with foods that make you feel good in the long term.

Give Yourself Something Manageable to Complete

According to one psychological theory, all people have an ingrained need to feel competent to progress emotionally, maintain integrity, and boost our well-being. By giving yourself a manageable and straightforward task to complete, you can give yourself a sense of accomplishment that will improve your mood overall. This can be anything from sweeping the floor to clearing out your inbox to cooking yourself a healthy meal.

Plan a Staycation

Usually, people become happier when they have something to look forward to. If Instagram posts of your friend’s vacations are getting you down, why not take a little staycation of your own? By planning a mini-vacay close to home, you can save some money and boost your mood, too. Take a weekend trip to a nearby tourist attraction or take a day to explore your own city like a tourist.

See a Healthcare Professional

Sometimes, the winter blues can be more than just seasonal melancholy; they can often be a sign of something more serious. If you believe you are suffering from depression, reach out to a healthcare professional today. They can recommend the best treatment centers for depression and help you find a treatment plan that works for you. To learn more about how your healthcare provider or we can assist, contact us at Kinder in the Keys today.


Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.