The gloom and doom caused by Mother Nature each winter is felt by one in four adults. Here are some things you can do to combat the shorter days and lack of sunlight that mess with body chemistry during the winter months:
1. Keep active. Research has shown that a one-hour walk in the middle of the day can be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues. Walk, run, ride a bike indoors or do an exercise tape.
2. Get outside. Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at lunch time and on brighter days. Help your grandchild make a snowman, go ice skating or snowshoeing to get fresh air.
3. Keep warm. Being cold makes you feel more depressed. Keep warm with hot food and drinks. Wear extra layers of clothing, don a pair of slippers, and aim to keep your home between 65 and 70 degrees.
4. Eat healthy. A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you from putting on excess weight over winter. Balance your carbohydrate cravings with fresh fruit and vegetables. Stay away from the donuts, pasta and potatoes which make you feel sluggish.
5. Sunglasses on. Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression. One way to get light therapy at home in winter is to sit in front of a light box for a couple hours a day. Or, sit near windows whenever you can. Open the curtains, and let the sunshine in!
6. Find a new hobby. Keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off the blahs. It could be learning a new card game, singing in the church choir, knitting or sewing, joining a gym, keeping a journal, or doing crossword puzzles.
7. Visit your friends and family. Socializing is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to travel to social events, even if you only go for a little while. Ask a friend for a ride!
8. Talk out loud. Join a support group or get counseling if you need it, and seek help from your family doctor if your symptoms are so bad that you cannot live a normal life. Talking helps, so keep living and know that spring is just around the corner!