Even though I think last winter in Michigan was much worse than the one we’ve had this year, the extreme cold seems to have gotten a grip on me. I can feel the winter blues starting to creep in. If you’re like me and can’t just jet off to some tropical destination, here are a few things to keep your spirits up!
· Get a little help from your friends: The Beatles had it right with this one! Sometimes winter can bring out the hermit in all of us and bring a sense of isolation. Socializing with friends and family, even if it’s just a phone call or even an email is a good way to lift one’s spirits.
· Sleep: Cuddling in a warm blanket and sleeping is one of my favorite things to do in winter. It’s not too exciting but wanting to sleep more in winter is actually normal. Aim for 7-8 hours and try to keep a consistent sleep and wake time. A good night’s sleep is like setting the reset button for our bodies and minds.
· Exercise: Staying active on a regular basis not only helps keep you healthy physically but also mentally. Certain endorphins are released during exercise that reduce one’s perception of pain and also trigger a more positive feeling in the body.
· Eat a healthy diet: It seems obvious but few of us follow this advice. Avoid refined foods such as white breads, sugars and processed foods. These tend to reduce your energy level which in turn depresses your mood.
· Soak up some sun: A little exposure to the sun provides our bodies with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for our immune systems and helps regulate our moods. Naturally we don’t spend as much time outdoors in winter. If you can, try to get out in the sun even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you can’t go out, open your window shades and sit near a sunny window. Even full spectrum light bulbs will work in a pinch.
So don’t let winter get you down. “Only a person in the depths of despair neglected to look beyond winter to the spring that inevitably followed, bringing back color and life and hope.” - Mary Balogh