There are a lot of reasons to love winter: fresh snow, hot cocoa, sledding with the grandkids, the joys of the holidays, snuggling under a warm blanket, and a chance to pull out your collection of knitted hats and gloves. But winter weather can also be a downer when snow and ice keep you indoors, and frigid temperatures make it difficult to feel warm and comfortable. Don’t let Jack Frost get you down. If you’re wondering how to beat the winter blues this season, review our helpful tips.
How to Beat the Winter Blues
If winter weather is keeping you cooped up indoors, don’t let it interrupt your workout routine. Daily exercise isn’t just good for your heart; studies have shown that physical exercise can also improve your mood. So if you’re struggling with how to beat the winter blues, start by hitting the gym or creating a workout routine at home. According to the Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes of exercise three to five days a week can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. If 30 minutes sounds a little daunting, start slow. Even smaller amounts of physical exertion – like 10 to 15 minutes a day – can make an impact.
Bundle up and go for a brief walk at a nearby park or even just around the neighborhood. Turns out, enjoying life al fresco (i.e., “in the open air”) is a big part of our overall happiness and mental wellbeing, according to Harvard Medical School: “Spending time outdoors seems to have discernible benefits for physical and mental health.” Not only will you soak up some much-needed Vitamin D while out in the sun, but it’s also a great way to introduce daily exercise to your routine. In addition, many people find that regularly engaging in outdoor adventures increases their social network because they begin inviting friends and family to join them.
If you find yourself craving sweets and carb-heavy meals during the winter, you’re not alone. Researchers have found that people often eat more during cold, winter months, and they tend to crave sugary foods that give them a quick energy boost. This might be due to your body’s increased production of melatonin during the winter, which can make you feel sluggish and sleepy. Instead of turning to a Twix bar for a boost of energy (and experiencing a sugar crash hours later), try these seven diet tips from Cooking Light that can help reduce seasonal depression and keep your heart healthy.
Increase the Light
Did you know that simply increasing the amount of light in your home could improve your mood? In fact, sitting next to an artificial light source like a light box is one of the eight tips on Real Simple’s list of how to beat the winter blues. It might sound a little nuts, but it works! Even the Mayo Clinic backs up the effects of light therapy. According to the clinic, “Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD [seasonal affective disorder] symptoms.” Sitting near a light box for 30 minutes a day can even help some types of depression and sleep disorders.
Talk It Through
If you’re still struggling with how to beat the winter blues, and you don’t yet feel like starting a new workout routine or trying light therapy, then it might be time to talk to someone about your symptoms. Seasonal depression and anxiety are surprisingly common, so share your concerns and frustrations with a family member or a friend. You might even discover that they share a lot of the same symptoms as you. But even if they don’t, it can be helpful to talk about your changes in mood and diet, and any dips in motivation.
Don’t let winter weather ruin your mood. If you find yourself struggling with seasonal depression, it’s time to discover how you can beat the winter blues and regain your happiness and health.
At Springhouse Village, we understand the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle. That’s why we make it easy for our residents to be active participants in our community throughout the year, including the dead of winter. Whether it’s encouraging our residents to enjoy the benefits of local attractions, providing places where they can practice and share their hobbies, or creating events that promote community engagement, we are continually striving to help our residents thrive. To learn more about the activities, amenities, and services we offer, contact Springhouse Village today.