The winter season brings many changes along with it, from falling temperatures to shortened daylight and holiday shopping. Some of these changes can be fun and invigorating, but may also lead to stress and mood changes for many people.
If your mood falls as quickly as the temperature drops each season, here are a few simple ways to beat the winter blues and help boost your spirits:
1. Brighten your spaces. Give your body the daylight and sunshine that it’s craving by opening the blinds or curtains, sitting next to windows, or even by spending 30 minutes a day next to an artificial light box.
2. Eat wisely. While it’s always important to be mindful of the foods you choose to eat, it’s especially important to be aware of what you consume in winter months. Some foods, including carbohydrates and candy, may elevate your mood temporarily, but may ultimately lead to an increase in feelings of depression or anxiety.
3. Get physical. Harvard University conducted a study in 2005, which suggested that speed walking for 35 minutes per day 5 days a week, or an hour per day 3 times a week helped alleviate symptoms associated with mild to moderate seasonal depression.
4. Pump up the volume. In a 2013 study, the University of Missouri found that listening to upbeat or cheerful music showed significant short and long-term boosts in the mood of participants.
5. Plan a getaway. If you’re longing to stretch out on a beach under the sun, go ahead and plan a vacation! Research has shown that even by simply planning your next getaway, your mood and overall level of happiness will increase significantly.
6. Get outdoors. When the temperature outside drops, it’s not always easy to convince yourself to get out of the house and go for a walk or run. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives though – even though it may be chilly, spending time outdoors can help improve your focus and mood, along with lowering levels of stress.
These are just a few tips to consider in order to beat the winter blues. You should also speak to your physician if you are experiencing symptoms associated with seasonal depression. Remember, before making any changes to your diet or fitness, always consult your physician.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of the doctor-patient relationship and any email is not appropriate for emergency care. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor's primary office, listed on our Locations page. In case of emergency, we are available 24 hours a day.