Bust Your Winter Blues
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Winter is well underway, which means warmer, sunny days of Spring can seem so far out of reach. Motivation and energy can feel just as elusive as the sunlight this season. If you are starting to feel the winter blues, try these tips below to put a little extra pep in your step.
Feeling sluggish is common this time of year, but you can combat it by adding more movement into your day. Even a little exercise can produce those feel-good endorphins and help raise energy levels. Bundle up and take a walk outside or try a quick indoor workout. Avoid that afternoon slump by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or incorporating a quick stretch break into your day. Keeping active this time of year can make a big difference and has even been linked to lowering depression symptoms.
Turn a Light On
Winter can be full of limited daylight and dreary skies, which can leave us feeling just as gloomy. Take advantage of sunlight when you can by opening the curtains or dressing warmly and spending some time outside in nature. When the sun decides to stay hidden, you can add a little light to the day by keeping brighter lights on in your house or considering a lamp or light therapy box that imitates natural light.
The winter blues can certainly affect our appetite and food choices. While our cravings might be more centered around comfort foods this time of year, it is important to incorporate plenty of fresh and nutritious foods to boost our energy levels and stay healthy. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help us get the nutrients we need all season long, including those that improve our mood. The Cleveland Clinic suggests pairing a high-fiber carbohydrate with a lean protein to help us feel satisfied during and after eating. An example of this could be apple slices with string cheese or Greek yogurt for a snack.
Check Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that comes from sunlight. In the dark winter days, we might be running low on Vitamin D, which can lead to fatigue, mood changes, muscle weakness, and poor bone health. It is important to have your doctor check to determine if supplementation is recommended.
Feeling More Than a Little Blue?
Sometimes the season can take a larger toll than just the winter blues. If you are feeling more depressed, anxious, or having a hard time accomplishing daily tasks, then it might be time to talk with your primary care provider or a mental health specialist. For some individuals, the change in weather can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder. When the winter blues becomes too much to shake, it is always okay to seek professional help.
Winter weather can be challenging, but there is still plenty of ways to enjoy and even thrive during this season.
Next Article: Goal Setting in the New Year
Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP