Winter’s chill is upon us, and it will likely linger for at least two more months. During this time, certain people experience bouts of melancholy.
Why does this happen? The holidays are over, the weather is frosty, and daylight is limited. Despite all this, there are assorted steps almost everyone can implement to combat the winter blues. Here are some suggestions:
- Dress appropriately: When we wear the proper clothing, we tend to feel comfortable instead of miserable. Therefore, be sure to dress with winter in mind. For example, don’t forget a shirt, sweater, heavier coat, gloves, scarf, and hat. Naturally, you can always remove a layer or two if you become too warm.
- Surround yourself with light: People who struggle with winter gloominess benefit from artificial sunlight (i.e. light therapy). Why? Sunlight helps to regulate our internal patterns. Since there are fewer daylight hours in the winter, these patterns may get thrown off. Exposure to a brighter environment can result in greater energy, sounder sleep and a happier demeanor.
- Eat healthy: The foods we eat significantly impact how we feel. If our diet primarily consists of salty snacks, fried fish, processed meats, and sugary desserts, we tend to get bloated, tired, and cranky. On the other hand, when fresh fruits, vegetables, baked fish, lean meats, and whole grains make up the lion’s share of our choices, our bodies and minds reap the benefits.
- Socialize: It’s sometimes difficult to be upbeat when we continually look at the same walls. Because of this, do not forego the opportunity to involve yourself in social activities. For example, make plans for lunch, take up a hobby, enjoy a weekend bus trip, or meet up with friends at the museum or mall. Interacting with others brings pleasure to our lives.
- Wear (or display) vibrant colors: Just because the landscape seems drab, that does not mean colors have to be dull. In fact, wearing a bright blue sweater to a family gathering may be just what you need to burst into the moment. Another thought? Proudly showcase vibrant flowers on the buffet table; each time you walk by, you’ll smile. Still, replacing fresh flowers can get expensive, so you may wish to consider an artificial arrangement. If you do go this route, don’t forget to keep a floral diffuser nearby: This way all of your senses will be stimulated.
- Play games: Games help to keep the brain alert. And, when we use our brain, our mood benefits. So, dust off the cribbage board, checkers, backgammon, chess set, cards, or anything else that gratifies your intellect. But you live alone? Solitaire and crossword puzzles can be energizing, and gosh how the hours pass.
The above ideas are merely a few of the many ways to combat the winter blues. Nevertheless, if you consistently feel down or the down days are significant, then an appointment with the physician is in order. Certain people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD): SAD is a serious but treatable form of depression. Your doctor will better know the signs and symptoms.