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Heartland Behavioral Health Services- Winter Blues Pt. 2- February 4, 2014

Alyson Harder has several ideas in helping beating the Winter Blues.

Part 2-Beating those blues


Luckily, there are simple tasks and activities that both prevent the blues from coming on and get yourself back to normal if they’re already here.

1. Exercise


Exercise isn’t only for maintaining your weight and staying healthy. It’s great for relieving the stresses of life. The effects of a good workout can last for several hours.  You’ll have more energy throughout the day, and your metabolism with stay elevated too. Exercise also helps your mind by releasing those "feel good chemicals" that improve your mood.


2. Eat a Healthy Diet

What and when you eat has a great affect on your mood and energy. Avoid refined and processed foods (like white breads, rice, and sugar). These foods zap your energy levels and can affect your mood—causing depression, lack of concentration, and mood swings. Try to incorporate more complex carbohydrates (whole wheat breads, brown rice, veggies, fruit) and get your daily 8 cups of water. These healthy foods provide your body (and mind) with nutrients, and stabilize your blood sugar and your energy levels. Eating 6 small meals a day can keep blood sugar at normal levels-it will help control cravings, mood and energy levels



3. Get Some Sun

Most people know that sunlight provides us with Vitamin D. But it also improves your mood.  Lack of sunlight can cause many people to become depressed.  Similar to exercise, sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Try to spend a little more time outdoors. Keep your shades up during the day to let more light in. Sit near windows when you can.



4. Act on your Commitments

Focusing on goals and tasks will help you get through those long winter days and months-setting incremental goals to reach will help you focus on short periods of time vs dragging through weeks and months of cold weather-waiting for April to roll around.  Reward yourself when you meet those commitments.

5. Avoid large amounts of Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol acts as a  depressant in your body and caffeine, of course, is a stimulant-excessive  amounts of both will result in a crash within your  body.



6.  Relax!

Try to spend a few minutes each day doing nothing! Read a book or  magazine, sleep in on the weekend-this will help regulate your circadian rhythm,  go to bed early, try some meditations, or take a yoga class. Relaxation,  especially in the form of yoga, can alleviate stress and leave you with a calm  energy.  Take a short nap 20-30 minutes will give you little bursts of  energy. 

7. Embrace the Season

Instead of always avoiding the cold and the snow—look for the best that it has to offer!  Get outside for a few minutes-bundle up and breathe in that cold air.  See the beauty in the ice and frost. 


8. Get Social Support


Be sure to continue to attend social functions such as; church, community groups, get out of the house when you can.  Schedule a card or game night, potluck dinner with friends.  Make a weekly appointment to meet a friend(s) for coffee or tea.  Organize a daily walking group at the YMCA or a Community Center-and take it
Instead of always avoiding the cold and the snow—look for the best that it has to offer!  Get outside for a few minutes-bundle up and breathe in that cold air.  See the beauty in the ice and frost.  

 
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