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7 Tips to Avoid the Winter Blues

Winter means cold weather, less sunlight, shorter days, and less time spent outside. This combination can cause a vast amount of people to feel a mild form of depression known as the “winter blues”, and it can happen to even the happiest of people when they least expect it. Luckily, there are several steps you can take in order to prevent the winter blues from getting you down this winter season.

  1. Don’t Abandon Your Resolutions. According to the New York Times, 4 out of 5 people who make resolutions for the New Year will not last beyond January. Setting goals for yourself and making daily efforts to accomplish them can be a major mood booster. Along with that, chances are the your resolutions are for healthier lifestyle choices, and a better lifestyle can be a definite boost to your morale. So, hold fast to those promises you made to yourself on New Year’s Eve, and find daily ways to accomplish your goals.
  2. Sunshine. Find ways during your day to get out in the sunlight. The sun not only provides Vitamin D, but it has also been proven to be a mood lifter. Winter days tend to be overcast, so good sunshine can be hard to find. Take morning and afternoon strolls when the sun is out, and spend time outside while on your lunch break. Sit near the window at restaurants. At the office or in your home, change your light bulbs to “full spectrum” ones, which mimic natural light.
  3. Winter Sports. Haven’t been skiing in a few years? Try it again. Always wanted to ice-skate? Now is the time! Being active on the weekends during winter can be challenging through the cold weather, but bundling up and getting outside can vastly improve your spirits after feeling like you have been cooped up inside for too long.
  4. Avoid Vegging Out. Although colder weather may seem like a great excuse to sit and watch reruns every night, keep your mind active. Instead of watching TV,  play a game, do a puzzle, or start a new book series to keep your mind from going to sleep right after work.
  5. Diet and Exercise. I know, I know, we hear this preached at us practically everyday. But two of the most important things you can do on a daily basis to improve your mood is to eat healthy and exercise. Avoid processed and fried foods and concentrate on eating enough fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day can also greatly improve your energy, which will improve your mood. Exercising releases endorphins, which will give your more energy and elevate your mood throughout the day.
  6. Plan Something Fun. Give yourself something to look forward to. . Whether it’s a massage, a spa day, a weekend in a nearby city with the girls (or guys) or attending a sporting event, having something exciting in the near future can build anticipation, which will help you be happier during your work week.
  7. Relax. Everyone can find themselves with too much on their plates from time to time. When you feel a little overwhelmed from everything going on in your life, don’t be afraid to tell someone “no”. Spend time doing nothing each day in order to calm your mind. Read a book or magazine, go to bed earlier, join a yoga class, meditate or write in a journal in order to relax.

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