Many of us have heard of “seasonal depression” that can occur in the darker, colder winter months. While only a small portion of the population meet diagnostic criteria for clinical Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), many experience its symptoms, such as depressed mood, lack of motivation, or desire to sleep excessively. The winter blues affect us all in different ways, but there are some precautions we can take to fight them off. Check out these three tips for keeping the winter blues away.
- Stay Active. Keeping a regular physical fitness regimen in the winter is a great way to keep your energy levels and mood regulated. Instead of taking an afternoon nap, power through and hit the gym on your way home from work. Take a class at your local fitness or recreation center. If you don’t have a gym membership, buy a few different fitness DVDs and get into a routine that works for you. Exercise has been shown to raise levels of feel-good brain chemicals known as endorphins.
- Treat Yourself. Sometimes getting out of bed and showing up for your daily obligations can be a challenge, especially during the winter. Give yourself a reward–and something to look forward to–at least once a week. This can be a trip to the spa, a one-hour massage, or any other restorative, enjoyable activity you can think of.
- Learn a New Skill. Get your mind and body engaged in learning something new to fill your time in positive, productive ways. The sense of accomplishment we get from mastering something we previously had no ability to do is a great way to bolster self-esteem, too. Even better, make the skill something that will benefit your health. Why not try Tai Chi? This practice is a slow and graceful form of martial arts that has been shown to alleviate stress and promote overall health and well-being. Tai Chi is offered at many community and fitness centers, including at Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold.
These strategies are preventive measures against the winter blues. If you find yourself already falling into a winter-induced funk, request an appointment with the experts at Advanced Health and Wellness Center of NJ to learn how we can help.