5 Ways to Beat the Blues

winterblues

Yes, we’re dangerously close to the season (in Canada) we try and avoid at all costs- we dig our heels deep into fall’s earth and resist the impending gloom that mother nature has in store for us: Winter.  Similar to our birthdays we  savor the fall until the very last second, of the last minute, of the last day. However we have no choice but to face the music.. another year older, another glorious autumn turned to winter. Just as our I.D.’s bear the truth of our age, the bald trees bear the inevitable truth of winter’s arrival. Unlike the 24 hours of birthday despair, mother nature has the audacity to make us endure the Winter for months on end. Just when we believe it’s over and we pack away our parkas/dust off our colorful spring clothes she comes roaring back with yet another few weeks of winter misery! Both time and seasons torment us without our permission, so we may as well work towards making this winter a little more bearable. Three cheers to sinus infections, black ice, and dry skin- hurrah!

By mid November we remove our “zest for life” hat and replace it with the oh-so-fitting “hibernation begins now” hat. Without hesitation we abandon some of the great habits we had in place such as evening strolls, outdoor activities, and cups of morning coffee on the terrace (my personal favorite). We begin seeking solace in momentary food distractions such as pastries, lattes, and other carb-alicious comforts.  The goals on the “to do” list such as weight loss or implementing exercise remain on the “to do” list for at least another couple of months. We surrender all hope of self-improvement and slip into a winter spiral of a low energy, sugar-crazed funk. Don’t undo all of your hard work or postpone weight loss goals just because winter is upon us! Let’s stop being a spectator watching our own lives from the sidelines (or in most of our cases under 10 layers of quilted blankets). Let’s choose to actively live our lives regardless of the season.  Starting preventative measures early can help avoid some winter funk symptoms altogether.

1) Set a Goal for the winter- There’s no better time than the present and if that means winter, then yes winter. We need to stop this vicious winter cycle from recurring year after year. Either begin, or if you’ve already begun a healthier lifestyle path then maintain this progress over the winter months. Goals provide meaning to spans of time and winter could not be in more need of some extra meaning. Lift your spirits while looking to the future and make these long harsh months count!

2) Exercise- Create an exercise plan and be consistent with its execution. Exercise raises levels of serotonin (a chemical which acts as a natural antidepressant) which drops when we’re experiencing the winter blues. Lowered serotonin levels lead to overwhelming cravings for sugar-infused carbohydrate comfort foods. Break up the mundane elliptical with doses of fun outdoor winter activities (cross-country or downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, winter hiking, or ice skating).

3) Take a multivitamin (containing Vitamin D) daily- Studies have been inconclusive as to what degree this vitamin can assist in combating winter depression. What’s undisputed is that vitamin D levels decrease in the winter because we’re lacking the sun’s beaming rays. A multivitamin will assist in providing the body with the nutrients that it requires, therefore increasing energy levels.
house plant
4) Go Green- Spruce up your home by surrounding yourself with the beauty of living plants. With the perpetual grey spectrum of winter’s outdoors it can provide a much needed escape when you’re greeted by luscious green plant life in your home. Sure it’s not exactly a tropical oasis, but it’s also not grey on grey on grey on grey, with a side of- what else? GREY.

5) Challenge yourself to begin today-  Be ahead of the game this year and begin your weight loss journey today rather than postponing it until January.  This time choose to be an observer rather than a participant in the annual New Year’s resolution weight loss scramble.

** Please consult a mental-health expert if you believe you may suffer from depression. **