The Winter Blues are hard to avoid if you are stuck inside for the majority of the day. Maybe you have a desk job, or are simply on the go too much this holiday season. It can become easy to get caught up in the business of it all. Regardless, don’t succumb to being a victim of the Winter Blues. Depending where you live, winter will either be something which you dread, or it will be something that passes you by without noticing. Are you ready for this season emotionally, physically, and mentally?
Occasionally, even people who live in warmer states, like Florida, experience cyclical changes that can influence their mood or behavior. The extreme form of these changes is called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. S.A.D. is a repetitive cycle of depression caused by changes in the circadian rhythm—a 24-hour cycle that regulates biochemical processes in the body.
Typically, in the winter as the days become shorter and the sunlight decreases, the circadian rhythm cycle can become disrupted. The hormone melatonin and the neurotransmitter serotonin suddenly drop and the negative results can be fatigue, depression, irritability, and weight gain. So what are some ways to beat those winter blues?
1. Find or start a movement class that makes you sweat: Getting your body moving floods your brain with those incredible feel-good endorphins. So start that high energy Shazzy Fitness dancing, and get your groove on! Then, treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate afterwards with your new dance buddy.
2. Hibernate happily: Sometimes it’s best to surrender to winter and take up hibernation like a bear. You can watch movies you’ve always wanted to see or curl up on the couch with a good book you’ve been meaning to read or get all cozy by the fire in your favorite Christmas socks!
3. Eat warm, nourishing comfort foods: Use this time to make those rich bean soups, hearty squash, and root vegetable stews that you’ve been wanting to try. It will nourish and warm your body.
4. Laughter is the best medicine: Go see a comedian (my favorite is Tim Hawkins), or spend time with others who make you laugh out loud. Find your favorite comedy and watch until you have a stitch in your side from laughing!
5. Manage your Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 is not actually a vitamin, it’s a steroid hormone manufactured in the body from direct exposure to sunlight. Because sunlight is weak or scarce in winter, be sure to buy Vitamin D3 supplements to make up for lost sunlight. Layer up and go for walks outside in the cold, fresh air; just because it’s cold outside, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be outside! As long as you cover up with woolly hats, down jackets, and long johns, even the snow and sleet will be your friend. Take a stroll on a freezing wintery evening and return home refreshed.
6. Meditate on the truths of scripture and think on the things that are lovely. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” Philippians 4:8. It is truly difficult to be sad or depressed when you are reminding yourself of all of the lovely things God has done for you!
So, you may be asking, “Which one of these will work for me?” Good question! Start by picking just two or three that just resonate with you the most, that’s a great place to start! Once you’ve done these, keep going if you enjoy them, or ditch them if you don’t! Start adding more from the list until, pretty soon, winter will be over and you will be wishing to do it all over again!