5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues!

It is common to feel the winter blues with the colder weather and shorter days. You are not alone if you experience fatigue, sadness, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation and trouble sleeping during this time of the year. Here are some tricks to manage these mood changes:
Get outside.
Bundle up and be sure to go outside even if it’s only for 10 minutes.  Research shows that spending time outdoors, in sunshine, in nature and fresh air, reduces stress and anxiety and increases feelings of happiness.
Spend time with others.
Social interaction is a well-known protector against all forms of depression, lowering blood pressure and levels of stress hormones.  If they don’t live close-by, give them a call, or get a group together for a fun video call.
Focus healthy eating.
It is very important since this time of the year tends to produce carbohydrate cravings that result in weight gain. Ensure you are eating a combination of real food at each meal, eat lots of oily fish and take extra vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin).
Get enough sleep.
Be consistent with the amount of sleep you get each day and follow a routine that allows you to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.  Sleep in a cool, dark room and refrain from using electronics in the bedroom.
Keep fit and stay active!
Exercise can have mood-lifting effects that are as good as taking antidepressant medication.  Start slowing and gradually increase your duration and intensity level.  Get a combination of cardio, strength and stretch.

The winter blues can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Although you can’t change the season, you can make choices to help minimize the effects and boost your mood!