How to Beat the Winter Blues
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Let’s face it; it’s difficult to stay positive during the winter months. In fact, winter depression is studied by scientists, and it is also referred to as seasonal affective disorder.
If you find that you have lost your motivation and are having trouble finding ways to stay happy during these cold months, here are some tips to help you beat the dreaded winter blues.
It may be too cold to go outside for a run, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Try getting a membership at a local gym, or, if you’re brave, put on some layers and go for a walk on the trail.
Research shows that by exercising three times a week for 60 minute sessions, you can improve your mood drastically. One of the most effective mood boosting workouts is yoga, so try joining a yoga class or even doing yoga in the comfort of your own home.
Here are the top five mood boosting exercises to try:
Make Your House/Room Brighter
During the summer, it’s easy for us to get outside and absorb the sunshine that our body desperately needs. Sunshine increases your serotonin levels, which may, in turn, make you happier. This is because serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer.
The cold weather of winter makes people want to seek warmth in their homes, causing us to absorb less sunshine, and, in turn, making us more likely to be depressed. One way to combat this is by allowing as much natural light to get into your house as possible.
Try keeping your curtains and blinds open all throughout the day. You could also use bright colors to decorate your
home, or buy white curtains to allow as much sun to come into your home as possible.
Sure, watching Netflix curled up under mounds of blankets sounds appealing, but going out with your family or friends is a great natural mood booster. Force yourself to plan a lunch date with your friends or a shopping trip to all your favorite stores.
At the very least, you can compromise and invite your friends
over to watch Netflix with you.
Try Something New
This is a good thing to try if you’re in a slump during any time of the year, but this is especially important during the winter months. According to EverydayHealth.com, “For a while now, we’ve known about neuroplasticity — that the brain changes and develops over the course of our lives. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers like neuroscientist Nathan Spreng, PhD, of Cornell University can actually map brain activity when we learn a new skill and have discovered that in the process of learning, our neurons become wired together. As our neurons send and receive information about the task at hand and become more efficient, it takes less effort for them to communicate to the next cell what is going on. Trying something new essentially rewires our brain.”
If you have a list of things you’ve always wanted to try but have ever gotten around to doing, why not start when you’ll be inside a lot anyways? Try learning a new instrument, read a new book, or learn how to bake a new recipe.
Stick to a Schedule
Schedules and agendas bring organization and order to our lives, and sometimes that sense of comfort and security can be enough to improve your mood. With school, it’s easy to stick to a schedule because you have to wake up at a certain time to ensure you can make it to school on time.
However, try even setting a schedule for after school, when you aren’t obligated to do anything. Pick a time you’d like to go bed each night and how long you’d like to spend on homework, and stick with it. You might just see an improvement in your mood by doing this.