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5 Tips For Managing the Winter Blues

Some of us love winter … warm sweaters, sharp chill and hot chocolate. For others, getting stuck at home with a snowstorm outside can be their worst nightmare. And for some, the cold months are a time where depression sets in. Also called a seasonal affective disorder or simply ‘winter blues’-  this mood change is caused by limited sunlight and lowered social activity.

So, how can you beat it? We recommend doing these things to help to get your groove back.

1.  Play Some Cheerful Tunes

Studies show that uplifting music can help improve our mood. Rather than melancholy songs, listen to smooth classical or even a little jazz.

Depressed or sad woman walking in winter

They help certain parts of your brain produce and release dopamine to boost mood. On top of feeling blue, we tend to feel stressed about feeling down. Music helps reduce stress and helps your autonomic nervous system process stress faster.

2.  Get Some Sun

Whether you take a short vacation or a trip to a park, get your quota of Vitamin D. A deficiency in the body levels of this vitamin is related to depressed mood. People with higher melanin have a higher chance of Vitamin D deficiency as the skin pigmentation causes problems in vitamin absorption. Mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, social isolation are the main symptoms of vitamin D shortage. If you can’t catch some rays, speak with your prescriber about supplements. Include foods like milk, cheese, and eggs into your diet as they are rich in Vitamin D.

3.  Go Out

Make it a point to go out. Go buy something for yourself or meet with friends. Even a 10-minute walk can help you fight the blues. Exercise helps the brain produce and release neurotransmitters that improve your focus and energy levels. Vary your workouts from daily. It doesn’t necessarily have to be high-intensity level training, and new variations of old methods can keep things interesting. Studies show that even greeting a stranger can help strengthen social ties and uplift your mood. A sense of community-feeling can support your emotional well-being.

4.  A Healthy Diet is Crucial

Serotonin is one of our body’s primary mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters. It helps the brain and the nervous system communicate and is related to our sleeping and eating habits. 90% of our serotonin receptors are in our stomach.

Since the gut and the brain are connected by the vagus nerve, our eating habits dramatically affect our mood. A Mediterranean diet consisting of vegetables, legumes, fish, beans, and unsaturated fats is recommended. Whole grains and a reduced sugar intake can also do wonders for your mood.

5.  Seek Professional Help

If symptoms persist despite your repeated efforts, it’s probably time to see an expert. While the social stigma around mental health has decreased in recent years, self-stigmas still persist and oftentimes hinder individuals from addressing issues related to mental health.

Seeing a specialist can help you identify triggers and come up with viable solutions. It can help you overcome your self-doubt and become a more confident person- it is never a sign of personal weakness or failure.

If you feel like you are not ready to see an expert, make sure to talk to friends or family. They will always lend you strength and support. If you are ready, get in touch with the team here today.