10 Ways To Avoid Depression In Winter
"It IS the most wonderful time of the year!". People are shopping for gifts for their loved ones for the holiday season, kids are waiting for Santa Claus and it is getting colder by the day!! Most of us are eagerly waiting for a white Christmas...
But it is also that time of the year when about 20% of people all over the world suffer from what is known as "Winter Depression" or "Winter Blues". As the days get shorter and the nights longer, you are overcome with a sense of dullness and boredom which can lead to a more serious form of depression known as the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Here are 10 ways to keep yourself active and smiling during the winter months.
Exercise is one of the best ways to stay hale and hearty! And that's why it tops my list on what you can do to stay cheerful this winter.
It is an excellent stress buster because the brain chemicals released during exercise make you feel happier and more relaxed. A short 30 minute exercising routine daily can make you feel rejuvenated with better energy to carry out your day to day activities.
So if you are already feeling the "depression pinch" from the sulky weather around, it still isn't too late to hit the gym. Or if you would rather exercise at home, check out these simple tools available on Amazon.
2. Go out, get some sun
The sun's rays are a source of vitamin D, which trigger the vitamin D synthesis in the skin aiding in the absorption of calcium for our bones.
But you may ask, when do we even get to see the sun in winter? Yes, I know that it is rare but on the days when you have clear skies and bright sunshine, try to get out of the house early to absorb some sunshine. If you are at work, go out during your lunch hours and soak up some sun. It can certainly give your mood a boost and make you feel fresh and energetic to start work all over again post lunch.
For those of you who love to jog, try to get out and jog in the sun instead of jogging indoors on a treadmill.
When you are spending time at home, keep the window shades up during the day so that the rooms in your house get some warm sunlight.
Invest in an SAD lamp to wake you up from bed during the dull, gloomy days.
3. Eat healthy meals
Eating healthy during the winter months can help improve your mood.
Stay away from processed foods such as white breads, canned foods and processed meats. They are devoid of the nutrients that your body needs and can lower your energy levels considerably. Instead, concentrate on eating healthy complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, vegetables and fruits which will provide your body with the necessary nutrients and help in maintaining the blood glucose levels and consequently, energy.
Other than meeting your daily nutritional needs, maintaining a healthy diet will also help you to get good sleep and make you feel relaxed to carry on with your day once you are up.
Last but not the least, don't forget to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated as winter months are very dry.
WInter could be the best time to socialize with your friends and family.
Meeting people and having a small chat over a cup of coffee or a meal at your favorite restaurant could easily give your mood an uplift. Throw a few parties at home and invite your office colleagues, neighbors or your family for an evening filled with fun and frolic.
Human beings are social creatures and by being amongst other people you will easily forget about the cold and do away with feeling blue. If you are unable to meet people try to talk on the phone.
In short, socialize as much as possible as it can beat stress, increase happiness and prevent you from feeling mentally ill.
5. Engage in winter sports
Of course we cannot do away with winter, we have to face it and what better way to face it than embrace it?
Engage yourself in some winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, ice skating or sledding. These activities can be fun and can be enjoyed with family and friends. Make the most of what the season has to offer rather than sitting at home and pining over when the cold and the snow will be over. Also, engaging in some fun filled activities outdoors will keep your spirits high during the season.
6. Relax yourself
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily life and spend some time doing a relaxing activity such as reading a book or a magazine, going for a massage session at the spa, meditation, yoga or just do nothing! If watching TV relaxes you then just lie on the couch and catch up on your favorite TV shows.
Spend some time everyday doing what you like to do when you are alone.This will make you feel positive and when you are surrounded by positive energy you will automatically feel better.
7. Get good sleep
Sleep can be a wonderful stress buster.
Obviously, during the winter months we all want to sleep a little longer. Nothing wrong with that!
But try to develop a healthy sleep pattern. Get to bed early and wake up early. Make sure you get your 8 hour sleep every day so that you are not feeling fatigued and sleepy at work. Do not oversleep, as that can make you feel MORE tired than you actually are.
I can never stress more on the importance of naps. A 10 - 30 minute nap during the afternoon can actually make you feel re-energized to get through the rest of the day.
Spend some time doing voluntary social service. In this way you will be able to spread the joy of the holiday season by helping needy and unfortunate people and also get a chance to meet new people and make new friends.
9. Avoid too much coffee or alcohol
Coffee and alcohol are the most tempting to consume during the winter months but while both can give you an instant high initially, once their effect wears off you tend to feel more tired and depressed. Instead of drinking too much coffee and alcohol try to drink something more healthy such as green tea or a glass of steamed milk.
10. Start planning a vacation
Plan a short vacation to a warmer place to get away from the cold, boring days even if it is only for a while. It will give you an opportunity to look forward to some bright weather and put you in higher spirits.
Yes, winter is a difficult time for many people but by doing the positive things that I mentioned you will be able to keep yourself balanced and uplift your spirits this winter.
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