Have the winter blahs hit you?
Do you want to stay inside and cook and eat high fat comfort food?
You don’t want to exercise and you feel sleepy!
You feel unmotivated and it’s easy to feel bored.
Yup, it’s cabin fever or a new term I just heard – ‘shack wacky’!
How do we cope?
When winter comes “many people experience changes in mood, energy, sleep, and hunger patterns”, says Lauren Stokes a professional counsellor.
As the hours of light in our days shorten it’s easy to want to hibernate.
But hibernation is for bears not people! So what can we do to beat the winter blahs?
1. Replace high fat, high carb. comfort foods.
The best choices are?
A) Oatmeal, it warms your insides, has lots of fiber to keep you feeling full and it even has selenium – a naturally occurring mood booster.
B) Dark chocolate! A square of dark chocolate preferably 70 % cocoa solids will release endorphins, which make you, feel happy.
C) Bananas contain complex carbohydrates, are naturally sweet and are a good source of Vitamin B6 which helps produce serotonin.
You will read lots more about serotonin in this post so let’s define it. Serotonin is a chemical in our bodies, which is sometimes called the ‘happy chemical’ as it contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.
D) Salmon and tuna are high in omega 3. Omega 3 helps our brains use serotonin better.
E) Avocados are rich in B vitamins which also help produce serotonin. They are rich and creamy and high in fibre.
2. Exercise is vital! More research is suggesting that exercise is a great way to deal with the winter blahs.
Walking especially under bright light improves our mood. So bundle up and walk outside in the sunshine. Or walk in your home, at the mall or hit the gym.
3. Get more light! Our bodies and brains are craving more light which helps release that feel-good hormone serotonin.
Open the curtains, sit near the window and turn on lots of lights. If you really miss the sunshine consider investing in a special light for Seasonal Affective Disorder. They are affordable and really make a difference.
4. Have fun! When it’s too cold for your regular outside activities or when you have another snow day, take advantage of the extra time.
Invest some time in a favourite hobby. Curl up with a good book. Watch movies or TV that makes you laugh. Sit by the fireplace and sip tea. Play with your children. Spend time with friends. Listen to your favourite music. Whatever feels like fun to you – just do it!
5. Take Vitamin D. We don’t get much Vitamin D from the sunshine in the winter months. Talk to your Doctor about taking Vitamin D.
“There is a link between vitamin D and mood during the winter months, and Canadians have significantly lower levels of this mood-boosting vitamin,” says Alan C. Logan, PhD, a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Medical Institute.
6. Have things to look forward to and put them on the calendar. Research is showing that simply anticipating something that you like makes you happier.
Make plans to go out for dinner – childfree. Or maybe plan a weekend away. Have coffee with a friend or go shopping. You can make plans for home tasks that give you joy too. Plan for a movie night with snacks, for a face time visit with a faraway friend or a long relaxing soak in the tub. You know which things give you joy. Build them into your life.
7. Have an attitude of gratitude! For those of us who don’t like winter very much, it’s easy to have a negative outlook. But there is much to be thankful for; remote starters, a warm winter coat, a snow blower, hot food, snow plows, a warm home, coffee, children playing in the snow and the beauty of fresh fallen snow.
Life is a precious gift from our Great God and He has given every season to enjoy.