How to beat the winter blues

Seasons play large role on our mood. Heading into the colder and darker seasons with a plan can help you combat the winter blues.

Have you ever had the winter blues? It’s amazing what a powerful force the seasons are in our lives. They effect the activities we do, the foods we crave, the clothes we wear, and quite often, the moods we are in. As we approach colder weather and the nights get longer, it is important for you to understand how this impacts you personally and to have a plan to going into the winter season.

Tips to help you survive dark, cold winter months

Manage stress

If you find that during the winter, you have a reduced ability to handle stress, it is recommended that you do whatever you can to minimize stress. So, plan ahead. Don’t take on a big project with a spring time deadline when you know that winter months are difficult for you.

Mindfulness is an excellent technique to reduce stress because it allows you to stop feeling out of control, to stop jumping from one thought to the next, and to stop ruminating on negative thoughts. Overall, it’s a great way to make it through your busy day in a calm and productive manner. Michigan State University Extension offers Stress Less with Mindfulness classes and has several published articles on mindfulness.

Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for us physically. But, exercise can also be an extremely helpful blues-busting technique. According to HelpGuide.org, regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better. 

The recommended amount of physical activity varies according to age. Recommendations by age can be found on the USDA website.

Eat Healthy

In the winter months, we often crave sweets and starches. Although these may boost energy briefly, in the wake we often feel tired and lethargic. There is also unwelcome result is extra pounds on the hips or belly, which are hard to take off when winter is over; not to mention bad for your health.

Rather, you should try to eat diets high in proteins, vegetables, unprocessed foods and complex carbohydrates. MSU Extension provides several nutrition classes and articles related to nutrition and diet.

Go into this winter with a plan to beat those winter blues by knowing how you will manage stress, exercise and eat healthy when the days get shorter and the temperatures drop.

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