8 Ways to Beat Those Winter Blues!

Is your mood as dark and gloomy as the winter weather?

Even if you’re not one of the 30% of Americans who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD — appropriate, no?), chances are you’ve grumbled about the short days, long nights, and freezing temperatures.

Try one — or all! — of these proven tricks to get through this dreariest of months.

    1. Find the Sun
      As soon as you wake up in the morning, open your curtains.  Bask in the early morning sunlight as you prepare for the day ahead.  If your house doesn’t get enough sunlight, try some sun therapy!  No longer large, boxy monstrosities, light boxes are small, portable, and much less expensive than their original counterparts.  Even 15 minutes a day in front of a light box can improve your overall health and mood within a matter of days.
    2. Exercise
      Your body loves movement, and it rewards you by producing dopamine, the “happy” endorphin.  Go for a run, try a new class at the gym, and check out YouTube for Zumba, P90X, or mood-bosting workouts.  You can also what you have in your house: climb the stairs, squat against the wall holding a broomstick out in front of you, or fill up two water bottles and use them as dumbbells.  Work those muscles!
    3. Healthy Eating
      Winter brings to mind cookies, rich holiday foods, and a lack of fresh produce.  Be sure to take a daily vitamin, purchase in-season fruits and veggies, and prepare your body to fight the flu.
    4. Forget Resolutions
      How many people keep their resolutions throughout the year?  (hint: not many)  Instead, figure out where you want to be a year from now and create mini-goals.  If your resolution is to lose weight, you won’t get far without knowing how to get there.  Goals may include drinking eight glasses of water a day, adding an extra day of exercise each week, and substituting a daily bowl of ice cream for a daily bowl of frozen yogurt.Here’s the important part: make sure you have a way to track your goals so you can hold yourself accountable.
    5. Socialize
      Get together with friends and family.  Even introverts can benefit from an hour of in-person social time, especially if you’re feeling low.
    6. Embrace the Cold
      Face it: winter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  You can either grumble for the next few weeks (not recommended!) or find a way to have fun.  Grab your kids, your friends, or yourself and go skiing or sledding, make some snow angels or snowmen, or marvel at how the crisp, cold air clears your lungs and your head.  Then enjoy a steaming mug of hot cocoa.
    7. Treat Yourself
      Sometimes there’s nothing like some personal pampering to lift your spirits: get a massage; paint your toenails; or purchase that item you’ve been eyeing for your favorite hobby.
    8. See Your Doctor
      If you find yourself falling into a sadness or depression from which you can’t escape, call your physician.

Above all, remember to take care of yourself during the winter months, just as you take care of yourself the rest of the year.