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7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Health Tips
Last Updated Aug 21, 2020

Does the winter chill make you feel down for some reason? That’s because it’s a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) time and the sky is darker than other days, making you want to slip under the covers and do nothing all day.

Unfortunately, inactivity does more harm than good as you end up feeling worse. SAD is a temporary form of depression that usually occurs during the cold months, usually starting in fall and lasting throughout winter. Its symptoms include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Irritability
  • Low energy levels
  • Feelings of heaviness in the arms and legs
  • Excessive sugar cravings
  • A strong appetite for carbohydrates and alcohol 
  • Weight gain
  • Avoiding people and activities

Are you experiencing any of these? The good news is that you don’t have to feel miserable any longer because we’ve come up with 7 activities that will perk you up and beat the winter blues.

Go Outdoors

Dress in layers and go for a walk or run. In fact, why not consider ice skating, skiing or snowboarding? Not only are these the perfect activities to do during the cold months, but they also promote positive thoughts and feelings, not to mention revitalise  the body.

Don’t Shun the Sun

Now now, when we say go outdoors, we mean while the sun is still up. Otherwise, you’re going to miss all of that vitamin D. Even if you don’t see its rays because the sky is covered with clouds, the sun is present every day and ready to help you maintain strong bones and prevent diseases. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before leaving the house.

Develop an Exercise Routine

It’s easier said than done, especially when you couldn’t resist the urge to eat and sleep day in and day out. But once you have started an exercise program you are comfortable with, you will come to realise that it’s habit-forming. You can start with one or two workouts a day then gradually progress to more until you’ve established a fixed routine that you can perform daily.

Join an Online Workout Class

If you have tried everything to start a fitness program, but your efforts proved futile, try Plan B, which involves a virtual workout class. You can go to YouTube, which many fitness gurus use, by the way, or subscribe to the website of an online health practitioner who delivers easy-to-follow exercises such as yoga, meditation or breathwork. Many of them hold online classes via video chat apps like Skype or Zoom. This will boost not only your health, but also your social life.

Use Light Therapy

The gloomy cold weather can easily disrupt your circadian rhythm, which is your internal body clock that indicates when it’s time to sleep or get up. Sitting beside a light therapy box for 20 minutes or so each day upon waking up will help regulate your wake-sleep cycle and pump up your energy. A dawn - dusk simulator is a wonderful alternative as it has the ability to simulate daytime and nighttime, hence giving you a restful sleep nightly.

Eat Healthy Foods and Less Sweets

Getting less light and oversleeping contribute to a strong appetite for sweets and carbohydrates. Unfortunately, clinical research shows that consuming excessive amounts of sugar during winter can worsen the symptoms of SAD. To prevent this from happening, enjoy a balanced meal that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and vitamin D. 

Surround yourself with colours

Avoid dark hues like gray, black and brown as these contribute to the feeling of lowness. Health practitioners swear by the positive effects of bright colours on depression. So spruce up your home with pastel curtains, beddings and rugs to uplift your mood and make each day worth looking forward to.

Following these 7 tips will surely head off the winter blues and make every day memorable for you. You can also get advice from a certified health professional.

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Originally published on Jun 01, 2020

FAQs About Winter Blues & Seasonal Affective Disorder

How do you beat the winter blues?

Spending time outdoors, getting regular exercise and maintaining a balanced diet are tried and tested ways to ward off SAD. Research also shows that wearing light-coloured materials helps relieve symptoms of depression.

How can I improve my winter mood?

Engaging in several outdoor activities like walking, running, skiing and skating, just to name a few, helps boost mental health, while improving your energy levels. Using a light therapy box first thing in the morning can also help uplift your mood and get you ready for the day.

What causes the winter blues?

Getting little sunlight during winter due to shorter days and longer nights may result in winter blues. Also known as SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, this mild form of depression usually sets in during fall and continues throughout the cold months.

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