5 Tips to Avoid the Winter Blues

By Charlotte Gibson on January 13, 2013

Upon returning to school after winter break, I always find myself diagnosed with a case of the winter blues.  During this cold, gelid season, many people (myself included) experience the “winter blues” characterized by the mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy.  But, why should the season dictate our mood and health?

In order to beat the “winter blues”, follow these five helpful tips to a successful and joyous winter filled with a positive attitude and an improved, healthier you!

1) Exercise 

With the cold weather and shorter days, exercise can become secondary to your every day activities.  However, exercise relieves the stresses of your life and provides you with more energy throughout the day.  Whether you decide to go to the gym for 30 minutes or take a brisk walk outside, any form of exercise can positively impact your health during the winter season.  The effects of a good workout can last for several hours after you hit the showers, and you will feel accomplished throughout the day.  Not only does exercise increase your energy levels, but it also has the ability to keep your metabolism elevated throughout the day.  No matter how dreadful the weather may be outside, exercise helps your mind by releasing those “feel good chemicals” that improve your mood and energy levels.

2)Eat a Healthy Diet

Put down the cookies and treats!  Winter can prove to be a challenging determinant of your health with the holiday parties, yummy desserts, and decadent meals; however, what you put in your mouth is translated through your mood and energy.  In order to stay on track during the winter season with a healthy diet, avoid refined and processed foods (like white breads, rice, and sugar).  Foods that have little to no nutrients, zap your energy and affect your mood – causing depression, lack of concentration, and mood swings.  With every winter meal, try to incorporate more complex carbohydrates (whole wheat breads, brown rice, veggies, and fruits) and remember to drink lots of water and avoid alcohol.  A healthy diet can be a quick fix to your “winter blues” by annexing depression, lack of motivation, and low energy, plus you will start to look great and get beach ready for spring break!

3) Go Outside

Although some of us may not have the luxury to live in a location that is graced by the sun 365 days of the year, obtaining some variant of sunlight during the winter season, provides us with vitamin D, while enhancing our mood.  The shorter and darker days make people stay inside and the lack of sunlight can cause many people to become depressed.  Even if you do not have any form of natural sunlight during winter, you can improve your mood by keeping your shades up during the day to let more natural light inside and by sitting near windows in restaurants and class lectures.  Don’t let mild depression get you down during this season, go outside and catch some rays (or some form of natural light) to perk you up.

4) Socialize

The frosty weather, the warm sweatpants, and the cuddly comforter – three factors that attribute to being a hermit during the winter season, thus enabling the “winter blues.”  However, a chilly night does not have to determine your state of solitude.  Something as simple as a phone call, a coffee date, or a nice Facebook message or letter can brighten your mood.  Keep a mental list of your closest and most special friends and family members to turn to when you are feeling down and need a pick-me-up.  The “winter blues” can be abolished with friendly, meaningful encouragement, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or some positive insight when you need it.

5) Treat Yourself  

Winter does not have to be an endless pit of depression and misery.  Whether it be a weekend trip with friends, a new pair of tennis shoes, or a special event, having something to look forward to can keep anyone motivated during the winter season.  Plan something exciting, make  goals, and reward yourself!  It will keep you motivated, enthusiastic, and happy, even in the what can seem to be the worst of times.



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