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Got the Winter Blues?

It's cold and dark and wet. It's February and you feel like you're stuck inside. The clocks switched to "winter time" and now you only have sunlight from about 8 am to 5 pm. You feel like you can't go outside because it's too cold.

Or, because it's Memphis, it's the opposite and it will be 80 degrees outside in February and you are confused between the seasons. Whatever it is, we tend to feel a little wonky at the beginning of the year, or in general, during the (Memphis) winter months.

Here is what I do when I am in a winter blues mode:

Happy music

Music can do so much for you! In a bad mood? Play something happy and uplifting. I have two playlists created, one called "happy music" and one called "upbeat music" and when I play either one of those, it gets me in that happy mood almost instantly! A good guide is to look for songs with at least 128 beats per minute, as that is a good beat for getting you into the dancing mood!

"Happy Light"

Just 20-60 minutes a day of extra, fake sunlight can help with your seasonal depression (make sure you have no contraindications though). This lamp can be turned on next to you while you are reading, working, or whatever else you're doing (as long as you're awake) and can give you that energy/happy boost when you're feeling down because it is one of those cold, rainy days.

happy light
Happy Light

Heating pads, blankets and cozy sweaters

Get a favorite cozy sweater and put it on for that cold rainy day. That instant feeling of comfort is amazing! I love having a weighted blanket as well. Because it is weighted, it instantly feels like a warm hug and melts all your anxiety away. When you're laying down to rest during those well-deserved rest breaks, or laying down to go to sleep, an electronic heating pad can easily help get rid of those aches and pains that can come with that winter-y blues.

Exercise

Yes! Exercise gets those endorphins going and definitely helps you gain some energy in those dark dreary days. Even if you don't feel like it, or it is too cold, going outside really helps cheer up the mind and body. Even if you just walk outside for a few seconds, it changes the body's temperature, so that you can feel warm and cozy again when you go back inside. Stretching and breathing can help you relax, while other forms of exercise can be a "tension reduction" strategy. Oh, and if you have a busy kid around you, turn on some music and dance the day (or night) away! It always helps my mood to be dancing around the house.

fighting the winter blues by getting outside
Combatting that winter blues by going outside in January!

Diet

Your diet can impact your mood. Of course, we all grab a hold of those "comfort foods" during our hard days. There is nothing wrong with that. But try to think of foods that supply healthy nutrition, like fruits and vegetables. Limit simple sugars and highly saturated and trans fats. Diet can make you or break you, technically speaking. There is definitely a relation between your diet and your mental health. Definitely think of what you are consuming on those hard days. There are plenty of things we can consume to help with feeling bad or really being stuck in the winter blues.

Supplements

I take a bunch of vitamins to supply the lack of them in my normal diet/nutrition. While I am not a registered dietician or nutritionist, it is always a great idea to take some vitamins to supply any deficiencies. Check with your physician or dietician to see what would best fit your needs, but generally a multivitamin, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and Vitamin D aren't a bad idea. Specifically, those C vitamins help with your immune system fight off infections and disease, B12 with energy levels and anxiety, and vitamin D gives you those "sunlight" vitamins that we are lacking in winter times.

Meditation / Relaxation

Find something that relaxes you. The container exercise helps me. Visualization of all kinds can be helpful. It also helps to imagine your happy place, such as a beach or a calm place that is just for you, and just imagine you soaking up all the sun and happiness that exists in the world. Even if it is just a breathing exercise for a minute or two when we're feeling stressed, or extra dragged down, there is so much out there that can be tailored for each individual.

Winter blues are very common. We tend to get worn down by our kids, especially in those dark dreary days. What do you do to help you get over the winter blues and which suggestions are you going to try today?

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