The winter months can be a time of increased feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness for many people.
Commonly referred to as the “winter blues,” the sense of sluggishness and negative moods that so many experience is actually a mild form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a type of clinical depression associated with the winter months brought on by decreased daylight and affecting the body’s levels of melatonin, seratonin and Vitamin D.
If you are noticing increased feelings of irritability, fatigue or decreased energy, boredom and decreased interest in people and activities you normally enjoy, overeating and craving carbs, or sleeping too much or too little, the winter blues could be catching up with you! Here are a few ways to beat them and manage your mood:
Commit to a Daily Routine to Beat the Winter Blues
The physical and mental benefits of committing to a daily routine are numerous. Along with providing a sense of structure, stability, order and control, a regular schedule provides direction and removes room for anxieties to creep in about what will happen and when.
Keeping a daily routine helps you create and strengthen positive habits. When something becomes habit, you accomplish it more efficiently, build skills and save time. The time saved frees up space for you to focus your willpower and motivation elsewhere – to projects, tasks or activities you really enjoy.
Consider implementing 20 minutes of exercise, stretching or meditating and waking up 30 minutes earlier to alleviate stress and enjoy a more peaceful morning to start your day.
Set Realistic Goals
Be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish and when its important to avoid overworking and stress. You may want to take on the world, but knowing when to say “no” is the key to being able to complete what you have already committed to wholeheartedly.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew and set yourself up for success by creating deadlines to meet smaller milestones before agreeing to new projects. Meeting your goals bit by bit will keep you feeling productive, successful and positive instead of worrying about meeting big deadlines and falling behind – a trigger for stress and anxiety.
Exercise, Sleep and Eat Right
You’ve heard it many times before, but the importance of regular exercise, a full night’s sleep and eating a well-balanced, healthy diet is so important to your mental and physical health. Along with giving your body the recommended nutrients, getting regular exercise provides stress and anxiety relief, alleviates symptoms of depression by releasing endorphins (the brain’s “happiness” chemical), and improves self-confidence and body image, leading to increased feelings of self worth. In addition, regular exercise helps prevent cognitive decline, control addictions, regulates sleep and boosts creativity.
Not the workout type? Try exercising with a friend to help hold yourself accountable, stay motivated and have more fun! Consider outdoor workouts for a boost of Vitamin D.
When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to disconnect from friends and family and keep to yourself. However, clamming up and shutting yourself off from loved ones only works to keep you isolated and alone. Spending a weekend or two being low-key is fine and normal, but if you find yourself avoiding being social the majority of time, try making extra efforts to spend time with those you’re close to or go out to meet new people and have new experiences. Staying open and maintaining relationships provides a support network and can help you feel understood, strengthened, encouraged and less anxious. Focusing on others, sharing your life and staying busy enough to avoid dwelling on the “blues” will help you to pull through.
By sticking to a regular daily routine, setting realistic goals, exercising, sleeping and eating right, and staying connected to friends and family, you’ll set yourself up for success to beat the winter blues. If you are still feeling down and out, or need someone to talk to, give us a call at 720-295-4233, click below, or send us a note on our contact form.
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