Battling the winter blues and staying mentally healthy this winter

While many enjoy a white Christmas, by the time February rolls around – most of are done with cold and snow.  As morning and evening remain dark, commutes long and treacherous, and the skies gray – you may find your mood dropping as well. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do about it!

However, let’s start off by clarifying there is a difference between the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is depression that sets in during the same time of year, every year. While treatments may be similar, SAD can lead to worse depression and you should consider seeing a mental health professional if you have signs of seasonal depression.

The winter blues is similar to SAD – you may find yourself craving bad foods, sleeping more and walking around with a case of the grumpies – but symptoms don’t interrupt your life by impacting your job or relationships. Some fairly simple routine changes can help you overcome a case of mild winter blues and push through until spring arrives!

Exercise

Is there anything exercise doesn’t fix? Probably a few things… but it’s the perfect cure for the winter blues. For starters, a trip to the gym can help you socialize, which is always good when you’re feeling down. Exercise will also help you feel productive, release endorphins, and fight the fatigue that is common with winter blues.

Light therapy

Lack of sunlight is thought to play a major role in winter blues – but it can be hard to find the sun when it’s snowy and below zero. Special light boxes help slow down the melatonin production that is thought to make us sluggish and sad in the winter. SAD lights or SAD lamps are specially designed for winter blues and seasonal affective disorder. Talk to you doctor or search online to find the product that is right for you. Here are some tips for finding the right SAD lamp.

Take a vacation

If you have the option, try and take some time off and maybe even head south during the time of year when you know your blues will kick in. Reducing your stress and the change of scenery might give you the kick start you need to get through these last few weeks of winter.

Mental health is a big part of a healthy home – it’s hard to be healthy when you don’t feel like yourself. So, don’t forget to try and prevent the winter blues if you find them setting in during these last few weeks of winter.

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