And it is that time of the year. Short days and gloomy winter skies. Has the gloomy winter weather sapped your energy and left you feeling melancholy and downcast? All you want to do is curl up in bed and binge-watch your favorite series until spring comes along. But well, that is not really an option, is it?
Don’t just brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the ‘winter blues’ or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. So, how should you go about tackling it? Get a jump on beating those blues!
Here are a few ways that might help to lift your spirits and feel good all fall and winter long, no matter how short the days get or how low the temperatures drop.
1- Get regular exercise
Yeah, we get it. You hear this a lot. But it is actually scientifically proven that exercise helps fight a lot of things. The simplest means of beating the winter blues is to force yourself to stay active, even when it is dark and cold. Even a 15-minute walk in the middle of the day is enough to help energize the brain. Exercise is a proven depression fighter and mood booster, so do not take it!
2- Have a sunny getaway
If you can swing it, arrange to go away for a few days or even a weekend to someplace where there is a lot of sun. Getting even a brief vacation is likely to lift your mood in itself. And getting some extra sunlight, even for a couple of days, will do a lot to take the edge off your winter blues. That effect will last for a while after your vacation. In fact, maybe even long enough to get you to spring.
3- Eat complex carbohydrates
Greasy, refined carbohydrates such as pizza and garlic bread give you short-term pleasure. However, it will make you feel more sluggish over the winter months. More complex carbohydrates, such as broccoli, spinach, and lentils take longer to digest, meaning they do not cause the sudden spikes in blood sugar that can play havoc with your mood.
4- Dark chocolate
Chocolate has always been a yummers and good way to self-medicate through down times. But a Hershey’s bar or pint of chocolate ice cream is not the best way to do it. When you are feeling down, pick up a bar with the highest cocoa content you can find. Dark chocolate is your savior!
5- Blast the music
Blast the music until you can’t feel a damn thing. Just kidding. But listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly helps in improving your mood in both the short and long term.
6- Take fish oil and vitamin D supplements
Many doctors have begun urging patients to up their vitamin D intake. This is especially useful during winter months since low levels of D were shown to be connected to the seasonal depression aka winter blues. So start taking D or up your D intake during the winter months. Omega-3 supplements may also be beneficial.
7- Limit sugar intake
Sugar may give you a little happy boost at first, but too much sugar and too few omega-3 fatty acids can functionally change your brain and slow it down. So it is a safe bet to stay away from sugar. Especially if you are feeling depressed. The crash after a sugar high can easily make you feel worse than before.
8- See a therapist
Determine how bad your situation is. Is it just mild winter blues or full-blown SAD? A therapist can help you train your brain to think more positively, which can also make you feel better physically. Please consider seeking professional help.
Winters are a real struggle to go through! Also, give a read to the seven best places for Pakistanis to visit this winter.
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