It is so easy to fall off track from doing things that help reduce depression during the winter, because it’s just TOO COLD! It feels so natural to want to hibernate and avoid anything involving going outside. But what ends up happening is after a few weeks, you can find yourself feeling a little down. This is why it’s so important to make the conscious effort to keep yourself engaged in activities that will help reduce your chances of feeling the winter blues.
Here are 3 tips that may help reduce the chances of getting depressed during this winter:
Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of the winter blues are caused by a psychological symptom called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons and is believed to happen during the winter months, because of the extreme reduction in exposure to vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D effects serotonin levels in the brain, which in turn can have a negative effect on your mood. Because our main source for Vitamin D is the sun, it makes sense that not getting enough sunshine could be the cause for feeling down. So make an effort to go outside every day and get a little sun! Even though during the winter months the sun may not seem to be shining though the dreary sky, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays does pass through clouds. So go ahead and spend even a few minutes a day outside. Although it may seem like the sky isn’t clear, rest assured the sun is shining through and even that small bit can make a big difference!
During winter it is SO easy to think, “I’m all covered up, I don’t have to be in shape, why exercise?” Exercise is much more beneficial to your mental health than most people are aware of. Working out is NOT just about “looking good.” Exercise can help relieve symptoms of depression in several ways. Among other benefits, it helps stimulate the release of feel-good brain chemicals such as endorphins. Endorphins are a type of neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger that give you the “runner’s high” or the feeling of euphoria when you physically exert yourself. Maintaining a good exercise regimen during the winter months can virtually eliminate the chances of feeling depressed! And you don’t need to exert a ton of energy to get there. Even just a 20 minute walk a day can help release these very healthful, happy-making hormones. Like the tip mentioned above, I suggest going for a 20 minute walk in the morning to increase your chances of feeling good all day long!
Making plans is the best way to force yourself to leave your house when it’s cold out! Without plans, there’s really no reason to leave your cozy couch and therefore you’re much more likely to stay in and isolate yourself, which can cause you to feel down. Even though it is cold outside, every establishment has heat. It’s funny that you have to remind yourself of that sometimes, but sometimes you do. Make plans to grab lunch or dinner with a friend and don’t focus on the temperature outside. Just look forward to catching up and spending quality time. As soon as you’re at the café or restaurant, you will be in a warm space and completely forget it’s below zero outside. The point is to stay focused on keeping yourself social, so that you don’t fall into the trap of hibernating alone all winter.
Although my blog topics can be very beneficial to your overall health, they are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information on or through my website, blog, e-mails, programs and services. However, the information may inadvertently contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. Every effort has been made to present you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, but because the nature of diet, fitness and health research is constantly evolving, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of our content.
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