The “winter blues” are common in the colder, darker months of the year. In addition to low energy, it may affect our moods. We may find ourselves craving more comfort foods or desiring to snuggle up alone with the remote instead of hanging out with friends. Below are six tips to help counteract the winter blues:
Eat a piece of chocolate—You read that right. Chocolate, preferably dark varieties, has been shown to be a powerful mood booster and can decrease tension.
Take a walk—A little bit of exercise, even just 10 minutes, can reduce stress, increase creativity, and improve your mood.
Catch some rays—Natural sunlight helps regulate melatonin and serotonin, the hormones associated with sleep and wakefulness. If you’re unable to be outside, alternatives include light therapy and/or vitamin D supplements (nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin”).
Have a cup of tea—Not only will a warm cup of tea warm your body, the small amount of caffeine can also help banish a blue mood.
Lend a hand—Research has shown that the more you volunteer, the happier you become. Find small acts of kindness to give back to your local community.
Try something new—Start a new hobby, check out a new restaurant, or join a club. Trying something new keeps your mind active and adds excitement to your routine.
While these tips can lessen the effects of the winter blues, if you find it difficult to perform daily tasks or start losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A subtype of depression, SAD is more severe and may require medical attention. Reach out to your primary care provider to discuss treatment options.