No, I wasn’t reading your mind, I was just talking about winter blues. Or if you want a more scientific name, it is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Every year, it is estimated that it affects millions of people across the globe in all age group.
Before you get set to beat winter blues, you have to understand that food was scarce during most of the human prehistory during the winter months, and a tendency toward low mood during the winter would have been adaptive by reducing the need for calorie intake. Here is how you can beat winter blues.
1. Eat Smart
Once you get into the fold of bad moods and depression in the winter we tend to make bad choices, especially with food. We will choose to satisfy our cravings in an effort to boost our moods. Even though things like chocolate, candy, and coffee other sugary foods can give you an immediate lift by spiking insulin level, it will only result in bad moods later due to drop in blood sugar level.
The best choice here is to go for complex carbohydrates, as they take longer to digest and doesn’t provide quick mood shifts like caffeine and sugar. Studies had also found that they will cause an increase in serotonin levels in the brain, the hormone that is considered to balance moods. The ideal choice of food during this period are whole grains, green vegetables, and pulses.
When I say exercise, it doesn’t mean hit the gym and get a six pack fast. In simple terms, the best way to keep you mind away from the clutches of depression is to keep moving.
It can be hard to go for a run outside or get involved in other physical outdoor activities during winter. However, taking a 30-minute brisk walk every day alone can bring positive effects according to research at Harvard. Additionally, it will be helpful to take walks in between the course of the day if you feel low.
3. Get out
Let’s come back to the scenario mentioned in the beginning. Your desire to be a polar bear and hibernate. How to beat that desire? Get out of the house as soon as possible.
One of the most important thing you must do every morning is to get out of the house as soon as you wake up. Have a walk, listen to some music while you walk or even read the newspaper. Getting good sunlight is highly essential for your body and mind during this season.
An extra tip to get a mood boost is to make your bed as soon as you get out- it will give you a feeling of accomplishment.
Humans are social animals and we are programmed to feel good when we socialize. There is no wonder why loneliness and depression are correlated. The more you try to withdraw inward, the more depressed you get.
Meet friends and family during this holiday season. Join some activities or do some volunteer works to get some additional karma while you lift your mood.
5. Take a vacation
If nothing above doesn’t work, then take a vacation to some place new. Ideally, it will be good to visit some place warm, so look for some destination in Southern Hemisphere if you are living in North.
However, just by visiting a place you haven’t visited before alone can bring a positive mood. Hence it necessarily won’t have to be an exotic foreign location.
(Image Credits: Flickr)