Seasonal depression is a real thing, and it affects a surprisingly large number of people in the colder regions. If you happen to live in one of these regions, you understand. You’re cooped up inside all the time, with the exception of the walk from the door to the car. It’s dark when you wake up in the morning and dark when you leave work in the evening. Heck, you might go days at a time without being in direct sunlight! Just taking the garbage out or letting the dog out is a chore because of how long it takes to get bundled up in all your winter gear. This was especially true last week when temperatures teetered barely above zero in Wisconsin. The problem is that winter in these regions is long. From November until mid-March, we completely restructure our lives around the weather. Today I’m going to share some tips for surviving the winter blues and hopefully enjoying the season a little more.
Get out of bed
Since we’re more likely to spend our whole day indoors, we tend to go into hibernation mode. The pajamas stick around longer and we spend several hours more sleeping. As much as you want to snuggle up under the warm blankets and sleep until spring, oversleeping is only going to make you more tired and make it more difficult to get out of bed and function when you really have things do to.
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I know, this sounds terrible. You don’t have to spend a whole day outdoors, or even a whole hour! Go for a 20-minute walk around the block to get some actual fresh air. Take advantage of days where the sun is out.
Take up a winter activity
Can’t wait for summer so you can take the boat out, hit the beach, or kick a soccer ball around? I bet you’d enjoy winter more if you had a winter activity you couldn’t wait to do! Skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating are all great options.
Create a workout routine
I know what you’re thinking. “Erin, no one is going to see my bikini bod for four months. No workout necessary today.” That might be true, but a rocking body isn’t the only advantage to workout out. Working out at least a few times per week will get your endorphins steadily flowing and put you in a better mood. I never want to work out. But once I do that 20 minutes on the elliptical, I feel so much better.
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Maintain a healthy diet
During the winter, we’re so inclined to eat dense, warm foods to keep us toasty in the cold weather. We bring out the slow cooker and start hitting the soups. That’s fine, but don’t let it drastically change your diet. If you’re transitioning to “winter” foods, make sure to keep them low in fat and have appropriate portions. The extra food will bog you down and you’ll feel a lot more sluggish.
Take your vitamins
Specifically C and D! Colds and flues spread like wildfire during the cold months. Make sure you’re taking Vitamin C and maintaining proper hygiene (washing your hands, etc) so you don’t get sick. One nasty cold in the winter, and you’re down for the count for a week or two at least. Since we’re getting so much less sun during the winter, get your Vitamin D elsewhere to make up for it.
Start planning for spring
If nothing else will keep your spirits up through March, start planning how you’re going to spend your warmer months. Thinking of taking a road trip with your best friend? Start mapping it out! I can’t think of a better way for surviving the winter blues!
How are you surviving the winter blues?
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