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Five Tips for Beating the Winter Blues
As anyone who lives in the northeast knows, the winter can be an awfully difficult time, especially with decreased daylight, being stuck indoors, and the stress of seasonal illnesses such as the flu going around. For those who are sensitive, this time of the year may be hard, even depressing; however, here are some tips to help improve your situation:
1) Take a Vitamin D supplement – Known as the “sunshine” Vitamin, taking a Vitamin D supplement in the winter time is crucial in helping our bodies adapt to decreased sunlight when we are unable to go outside. Many Americans are deficient and think that even if they spend time outdoors in the winter that this will be enough. Unfortunately, we don’t receive the proper UV light at this time of year to allow our bodies to produce Vitamin D so a supplement is highly advisable!
2) Participate in some sort of “mindfulness-based” activity each day – stress can really take root during the Winter and participating in activities such as meditation, Yoga, tai chi, and deep breathing may help reduce daily situational stress that can contribute to winter blues.
3) Exercise – daily exercise, sustained for at least thirty minutes, helps to relieve stress, get your body moving, and release ‘feel-good’ endorphins in the brain. It is easy to become sedentary in the winter time but winter is also the chance to try new activities, look into exercise groups and classes, or find a new workout buddy.
4) Eat Well – when Winter or life gets us down, it’s easy to cave into cravings for sugary and salty foods. Instead, you might want to try cooking a warm meal on a winter’s day. Eating cooked food and drinking warm liquids helps support our bodies during the cold, dark months. You may even want to search online for recipes that create a sense of health and satisfaction. Think soups, stews, and porridges.
5) Caffeine and Alcohol – The winter can be a time of wonderful celebration, but many people consume more alcohol and caffeine at this time of the year. Alcohol and caffeine consumption adds stress to your body and can dehydrate you and it’s important to watch your intake of these substances so as to keep your body healthy and relaxed.
By Morgan Mako
Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Care disparities