Improving the Winter Blues
With the arrival of the new year and the winter weather is only half over and not exactly the best; the days are too short, and the temperature is low, peoples moods are usually not the cheeriest and can be very depressing.Getting out of bed is a hassle and not desirable for some people, and they find a very strong pot of coffee is the only way to start the day. Here are some scientifically proven ways that may lift ones spirit and ease the mid-winter blues.
1/ Make your enviornment brighter: During the winter your body craves more daylight because it is not getting enough. Sitting beside an artifical light, called a light box , for about 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose od sunshine. Make sure if there are tree branches blocking your windows they are trimmed back.
2/ Eat smarter: Certain foods such as chocolate can help enhance ones mood and relieve anxiety. Other foods such as candy and carbohydrates can temporarily give feeling of happiness, but could also increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Try green tea, or even better…low fat ice cream or yogurt.
3/ Simulate dawn: There are people who suffer from a form of depression called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This usually runs from late fall early winter till spring time when the weather usually improves. Usual syptoms are depression, irritability, lathargic, and have trouble, or no
desire, to get out of bed, especially in the morning when its still dark outside. Studies have shown that a dawn simulator can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed in the morning. The device causes the lights in the bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time.
4/ Excersice: A Havard University study done in 2005, suggested that walking fast for 35-40 minutes a day, five times a week, or 60 minutes a day three times a week, improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. A pre-liminary study found that excercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression, as well as mental health, social functioning, and vitality. The study also showed that under normal lighting vitality only improved.
5/ Turn on the tunes: A research study done in 2013, showed that listening to upbeat and cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short term and the long term.
6/ Help others: Volunteering your time to help others, whether it be at a local shelter, a local church group, or read to and visiting seniors who can’t get out, can improve your mental health and life satisfaction.
7/ Get outside: Regardless of the weather, even when its low temperatures, talking yourself into a walk may not be easy, but there are significant benefits. Spending time outside can improve ones focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels. Taking along a companion, whether it has four legs or two, increases mental health and life satisfaction.
8/ Plan a vacation: The simple act of planning to go on a vacation, research has shown this causes a significant increase in overall happiness. It creates a excitement which can help damper the blues.
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