Living in the midwest United States, it’s getting to be THAT time of year….days continue to get shorter and the weather is getting colder. This combination can leave us hunkered down indoors for long periods of time. Without making a concerted effort to beat the winter blues, you might find yourself feeling sluggish or down. So, why not be proactive and try to embrace and enjoy this time of year? Here are some tips to beat the winter blues:
Get outside: I know this idea may sound crazy to some, but if you dress properly and can get through the first five minutes – being outside can be invigorating and have many health benefits – especially for kids. This could be something as simple as shoveling the driveway or going for a quick walk. Check out this great video on the Parks Prescription. Health care providers are now prescribing NATURE!
Get some exercise: If you do get outside, you are probably getting some form of exercise. Exercising OUTSIDE is always my first suggestion but if it’s too slippery or dark, moving indoors may be a better choice. But if you haven’t experimented with an outdoor activity, I highly suggest you explore something. From hiking, to snowshoeing, skiing or otherwise, you might be missing out on a new and fun hobby.
Keep your body in rhythm: Your body does best with a predictable cycle of waking and sleeping. Although the short days may leave you wanting to sleep more, it’s best to try to go to sleep and wake around the same time every day. And, when possible, get fresh air and natural light soon after waking.
You need more than just comfort food! The way you eat impacts your brain chemistry and it’s extremely important to feed your brain what it needs to be healthy.
Socialize: Stay connected with others IN REAL LIFE. When you get home from work and it’s dark out, it’s easy to throw on pajamas and call it a day. That might be okay some days, but make sure to stay connected with others at least a few days a week. Our brain needs it!
Take A Trip: If your finances allow it, break up the short-dark days with a trip. Some place sunny and tropical would be ideal, right!? But even a short road trip to catch up with a loved one will help break up the winter doldrums.
Manage Stress: Excessive stress can wear on our mind. See if any of these proactive approaches can help fend of stress and anxiety.