Having the winter blues is actually quite common. Many of us have been affected by it in one way or another. The cold, less exposure to sunlight, and cabin fever can cause feelings of sadness, fatigue and boredom. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real and serious type of the winter blues, with many people becoming severely depressed and lethargic.
However, there are many simple ways to help yourself cope with that “blah” feeling you may be getting this time of year. Boost your energy levels, mood, and health by following a few easy tips.
Always Look at Your Diet First
This time of year many people overeat or eat fattier foods, which slows down metabolism, zaps our energy and adds pounds to the scale. Give yourself plenty of energy by eating whole grains at breakfast.
Eat Some Lean Protein
Eating some type of protein (keep it lean!) as a part of each meal will keep blood sugar levels on track and will help you to feel more full.
Drink Some Water
Though you have heard it many times before, drink water as much as you are thirsty, and have a glass before a meal to help you eat a little less.
Check Your Vitamin Intake
If you're not getting enough folate or vitamin B12, your energy levels will plummet and fatigue, weakness and poor concentration can occur. Look again to your diet, and find foods that contain these. Add a good supplemental vitamin for good measure. Proper amounts of potassium can help as well, so add a banana to your cereal each day!
Try the Light Box Trick
If you're feeling super low, exposing yourself to a bright light for about 45 minutes each day can improve your spirits almost instantly. Many sufferers of seasonal affective disorder use a light box that provides the right amount of light for the right amount of time. However, there are other ways to get the light exposure you need.
Sit By a Sunny Window
For an hour or so each day, do your bills, watch TV, read a book, or relax. The shorter winter day's means many people work when the sun is out, and leave and return home in the dark. If you work when the sun is out, do it on your days off, and consider purchasing a light for your workspace. Have lunch in a bright restaurant or bundle up for a brisk walk.
Getting any exercise when it's frigid or snowing out is tough, but it's an important way to keep us off the couch and give us an energy boost. Belonging to a gym or having one at home is a luxury not everyone has, so get creative.
While the weather outside is frightful, burn some calories by knocking out any home projects like cleaning out closets or painting a room. Having that feeling of accomplishment should cheer you up as well. It's easy to do exercises at home with DVD's and an inexpensive set of hand weights.
Throw A Party
Having a fun event planned to look forward to can take your mind off the cold and dark of winter. Your event can be as simple as an evening out for dinner or a big party planned by you. Invite people you enjoy that make you happy when you're around them. Many people get the winter blues, so why not consider making it the theme of the night and plan fun that has a tropical feel?
Talk It Out
If a case of the winter blues does not seem to go away or get worse, find someone to talk to like a counselor or your doctor. It's possible you may have the more serious seasonal affective order. Doctors can recommend the proper treatment for possible seasonal affective disorder or depression.