Now that Christmas decorations have made their way back to the attic and cheery holiday music has been retired until next winter, you may be feeling the effects of the mid-winter blues.
With many experiencing rain storms, snow storms, and freezing temperatures in some parts, it can be easy to hibernate during the winter season.
Our annual winter woes often make it convenient to sleep more, eat more, and avoid social activity with those we are closest.
Symptoms of the Winter Blues
Unsure if you are battling a mild or more severe case of the winter blues?
Although there is no specific diagnostic test for winter depression, the below symptoms are common among those who struggle with the seasonal changes:
- Tiredness- if suffering from the winter blues, you are most likely going to bed earlier, napping more, and having difficulty detaching from your bed in the mornings.
- Body aches- achy joints and stiff muscles may be an indication of your body’s reaction to seasonal affective disorder.
- Depression- you may feel more irritable and find yourself complaining constantly. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and increased anxiety are symptoms of the winter blues. Withdrawing from family and friends and becoming more isolated can cause this depression to worsen.
- Weight gain- the cravings for sweets and comfort foods typically don’t end with the holidays. If suffering from the winter blues, you will find yourself craving more and more carbohydrates while your appetite increases. Most often over-eating is accomplished from the boredom of being indoors.
Tips to Overcome Your Winter Woes
If wanting to break free from the depression and confinement often created by the winter season, do your part to track your symptoms and make the changes you need to avoid the winter blues year after year.
- Start a project- do something you’ve been putting off for a while. It will temporarily distract you from the cold and gloom outside while making you feel accomplished. Anything from scrapbooking to cleaning out closets and bedrooms are great ways to pass the time.
- Change eating habits- nutrition plays a significant role in our moods. Maintaining a well-balanced diet helps boost energy while helping us to stay more focused and active during the colder season. Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet will help you feel better and give you more energy while helping to prevent winter weight gain.
- Establish an exercise routine- research has proven that exercise works as an antidepressant, thus helping to manage our mood, which is especially important during the colder season. If you haven’t already, get into an exercise routine that fits your daily schedule. Don’t let ice and snow on the ground stop you from living a healthier life. Invest in a cardio machine to use while watching your favorite television program or acquire some workout video that can be done in the comfort of your living room.
- Socialize with family and friends- try to meet them in person for walks, coffee, lunch, etc. to get out of the house. If the weather is too nasty to drive in, talk on the phone as much as possible to keep your social interaction alive.
- Get outside anyway- soak up the sun when you can. Bundle up and take the family outdoors for a winter hike, some sledding, or ice skating. Even getting outside for an hour each day can make a big difference in your mood.