How can I best fight the winter blues?

Every winter I find myself getting sad because of the weather. How can I fight this?

Cold climate is often accompanied by grey skies, snow and ice. The elements along with wind, windchill and severely cold temperatures may lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and low energy. For some people these symptoms occur each year from late fall to early spring and may be suffering from a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Whether you have been diagnosed with SAD or are finding yourself struggling with the “winter blues” for the first time here are some suggestions for feeling better and staying healthy.

1. Nutrition

 Most likely you have heard the term “comfort food.” These foods and snacks are high in carbohydrates, sugar and fat. Avoid overeating cookies, cakes and candy. Chose vegetables, fruit and protein for snacks and plan balanced meals. If you find yourself wanting to eat or snack throughout the day, ask yourself why you are eating. Are you hungry? Or Are you eating because you are bored?

2. Alcohol

Keep in mind that alcohol is a depressant so consuming wine, beer or liquor when already feeling sad, anxious or depressed will only add to your symptoms. Do not consume alcohol while engaging in outdoor activities such as snow removal, skiing, or ice fishing. If you find yourself reaching for an additional glass of wine or beer be mindful and ask whether you are doing it due to boredom. Instead of mindlessly taking another glass of alcohol, drink a glass of water.

3. Sunlight

Get out in the sunlight or brightly lit spaces, especially early in the day.

4. Be active

If you are unable to go to your favorite gym, exercise class or go for a run, find a way to stay active in your home. There are a lot of short, instructional programs available on YouTube that you can follow to do some gently yoga, dance, or do strengthening exercises using only your body weight.

5.  Reach out for help

Confide in someone you trust about how you are feeling. Do not hesitate to contact a counselor if you feel that you are becoming more depressed and anxious. If you experience thoughts of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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