10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Written by Natalie Nichols, Staff Writer

Do you start feeling tired and depressed once fall rolls around? Perhaps you experience mood swings once the seasons start to change. If you have these symptoms you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that strikes people during the colder months of the year. But don't fret—you can feel better starting with these 10 tips!

Let the Sunshine In

Just because the weather is chilly, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some sunshine. Simply opening the blinds or lifting the shades at home and the office can turn the seasonal grumps into smiles and cheer. If you are able, try sitting under skylights or near larger windows and bask in the sun’s glow even more.

Take Up a Winter Sport

It is human nature to want to stay warm and cozy when it is blustery cold outside. But why not take advantage of the fun sports only winter can bring? Grab some friends, the fam, or go solo as you ski, ice skate and snowboard away the winter blues. Not only will you feel happier, but you will get fit in the process.

Exercise Regularly

Cold weather surely can tempt you to want to curl up on the couch in your sweats with a soothing cup of hot cocoa in hand. But what happened to your favorite group fitness class at the gym? Remember that exercise releases feel-good endorphins that boost your mood. Exercising regularly will also help you burn excess calories and won't leave you with a sugar crash later on.

Cut the Comfort Food

It seems easier said than done (especially during holiday months), but you don't need to indulge in fatty sweets and fried, calorie-ridden comfort foods in order to feel contentment or happiness. Yes, comfort food can bring back a sense of nostalgia but healthy meals containing whole grains, fruits, veggies and plenty of water will provide your brain and your body with nutrients and give you a much needed energy boost.

Find Your Inner Yogi

Mind-body techniques such as yoga can help alleviate seasonal depression symptoms. You don't have to be a seasoned yoga master or the most flexible person in the world to enjoy the mental health benefits of yoga. Simple poses such as child's pose will help relax your nervous system and clear your mind of unwanted thoughts and stress.

Avoid Uppers and Downers

Much like comfort foods, alcohol and coffee can both be tempting to consume while you aren't feeling your best during winter months. Yes, coffee can give you an instant jolt which may sound like a good idea at the time, but once that caffeine high wears off, you will find yourself more tired than before. And though a nice glass of wine can help calm your nerves and ease your mind, drinking too much alcohol will leave you feeling down in the dumps. For a comforting drink without the drugs, try a mug of steamed milk instead.

Manage Stress with a Massage

Aside from relieving tension in your muscles, a relaxing massage can give you peace of mind. So, take time out for you and get a short, inexpensive 15-minute massage (or a longer one if you can!) and start reducing stress and anxiety. You can even use a foam roller for self-massage at home. You will feel more alert, blissfully rejuvenated and of course, happier.

Maintain a Consistent Schedule

Waking up and heading to bed at consistent times every day will not only help you get a good night's sleep, but will keep you on track with your exercise and healthy eating goals. This is especially true during colder months when the sun sets earlier and rises later. Resist the urge to hibernate and set the alarm for an early wake-up call. Productivity will make you feel good.

Plan a Vacation

Before winter rolls around, consider planning a vacation to a warmer climate. This will give you something to look forward to during the colder months and, in turn, will put you in better spirits. Even if you can only get away for a weekend, the warmth of the sun and relaxation of the surf will keep your seasonal depression symptoms at bay.

Get Out and Be Social

When you aren't feeling your best it can be very difficult to leave the house, let alone socialize. But being antisocial can actually make you feel more depressed and alone. Getting outside to hang out, chat and laugh with your friends can bring you much needed stress relief and put you in a joyous state. At the very least, just grab your boots and trek through the snow to a neighbor's house for a welcoming change of scenery.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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12/28/2010 4:34:44 PM



12/26/2010 11:29:16 AM

MARUCA-C's SparkPage
I also have SAD. I use some of the these tips already but it's really good to have some new ones, thanks a lot for this article!!!


12/15/2010 10:34:31 AM

Good advice :O)


12/5/2010 1:34:55 AM

GIVEUP30's SparkPage
I liked this but the pizza looked sick...I don't drink,,


11/26/2010 5:45:38 PM

good ideas! I think this was quite helpful for me.


11/26/2010 9:29:21 AM

WINWIN1's SparkPage
Also suffer from SAD. The light box we bought is helping alot. Also, exercise exercise exercise. My main trouble is DOING the exercise. But, it is a requirement for everyday survival if you have SAD. Great article.


11/24/2010 6:09:30 PM

Thanks for the tips on beating the winter blues!


11/24/2010 3:10:00 PM

PITTERPATT444's SparkPage
I used to dislike the long Wisconsin Winters until I started Snowshoeing. Now I look forward to the times I can get out there and snowshoe through the woods. I Love it , especially on on cold crisp moonlight evening.


11/24/2010 2:00:58 PM

I suffer from SAD, and last year I purchased a 10,000 lux light for $200. It is one of the best purchases I've made, and really helps get me through the winter. I use it every night for a half hour, as per the instructions. I was a little skeptical, but have really noticed a difference in how I feel throughout the northeast winters.


11/24/2010 9:22:16 AM

CR8822's SparkPage
great article


11/23/2010 9:00:12 PM

great article!


11/23/2010 7:37:15 PM

BEHAPPI63's SparkPage
I have a small income tax business, so I am strapped to a chair sitting behind a desk from after Christmas until the end of February. Very long 12-18 hour days, 7 days a week. Often I get only a few hours sleep a night. During that time, I basically live in my office, and do not see outdoors. If the weather is bad, I just sleep at the office. For me winter passes by very quickly and is hardly noticed.That's a good thing! BUT it is hard to eat healthy, and many meals skipped as well as I am lucky to get a1000 steps in a day. March through May I will make it a point to get some exercise, but I will have to pay an employee to cover the office so I can take a short walks or maybe work out in a gym..if I join one. I don't care what winter does, just let me know when it's over.


11/23/2010 5:48:29 PM

OOKPIK37's SparkPage
It's been -20C to -25C where I live for the past week, and I find it very hard to leave the house again once I've come home from work. When the weather gets this cold and I know that I'm not going to want to go out, I make sure that I stop at the gym on my way home from work...that way, once I'm home, I'm home for the night! I definitely go into hibernation mode, and I find it very difficult to stay motivated. I just want to get home and into my fuzzy pj's.


11/23/2010 4:17:49 PM

JANIE621's SparkPage
In an apartment for the first time in 40 years. My first winter after losing my husband, serious loss of income, but I take heart in the fact that like all of the seasons, this one will fly by and soon I'll be sewing spring clothing instead of sweats and flannel pajamas.


11/23/2010 3:03:14 PM

RUTGERSM0M's SparkPage
I am suffer from SAD. Thank you so much for this article.

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