Do you ever feel “down” when the seasons change to the colder months? If so, you’re not alone.
In this article, I will discuss options for getting through the upcoming cold months.
What are the winter blues, anyway? According to the National Institutes of Health, some people experience significant mood changes during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.
This condition, known as seasonal depression, seasonal mood disorder, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), may include such depression-like feelings as sadness, anxiousness, irritableness, or sleepiness, just to name a few.
SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy (light box, bright light therapy box, or phototherapy box), counseling, and/or medication. Please consult your health care provider to explore your options.
Other options for feeling better may include exercise. Exercise can alter brain chemicals and may ease the symptoms of SAD.
In my article, Beyond the Basic Benefits of Exercise, I discuss how exercise can improve your mood.
Some indoor exercises you can participate in, when it’s too cold and dark to exercise outside, include:
- Mat Pilates
- Resistance bands
- Dance (e.g., Zumba)
- Martial arts (e.g., Tae Bo)
- Strength training (e.g., weight lifting)
- High-intensity anaerobic training (e.g., CrossFit)
- Body-weight training (e.g., jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups)
You can find an abundance of free information on these topics through the Internet, or in your local library. You can also purchase various CDs and DVDs for any of these exercises.
Another contributing factor to how we feel is nutrition. According to Columbia University Medical Center, you want to maintain a balanced diet by maximizing some foods and minimizing others. Increase your intake of lean protein (chicken, fish, lean beef), fruits, and vegetables, and decrease your intake of baked goods and fried foods. Your plate should include all the colors of the rainbow.
Finally, these last few tips are well-known but worth repeating:
- Stay hydrated
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Get enough sleep
- Remember to laugh
Hopefully, as the winter months creep upon us, you can prepare now and be ready to beat those blues!