Saturday, January 31, 2009

5 ways to avoid winter blues

If you find yourself moving a little slower this winter, you’re not alone. Many people experience low energy when the days grow colder and daylight is scarce. While depression can be a serious health condition that requires medical treatment, a case of mild winter blues could benefit from a few of these best practices. Get moving Numerous studies indicate that regular aerobic exercise such as walking or running can have a significant impact on mild to moderate depression. One theory is that exercise releases chemicals in the body that can promote a sense of well-being. If it’s just too cold for a walk or you can’t get to the gym, try cleaning the house or even dancing to your favorite music. Lighten up Some experts suggest increasing your daily exposure to sunlight (or natural light) as much as possible to help keep depression at bay. Just 15 minutes of direct sunlight per day gives you your daily requirement of Vitamin D, which is not only a critical nutrient but is also believed to help regulate mood (don’t forget to wear sunscreen). Also, keep blinds and curtains open during the day. Meditate A recent study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that mindful meditation exercises were more effective than anti-depressants in preventing a relapse of serious depression. Subjects were given meditation exercises to control negative thoughts and depressed feelings. Learn a simple meditation exercise. Eat the right foods Food can affect brain chemistry and mood by elevating levels of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. When you’re feeling down, try eating foods that boost and stabilize serotonin levels, such as lentils, pumpkin and flax seeds, almonds and walnuts. Read more about food and mood. Make the most of it Instead of spending the day curled up on the sofa, try to embrace the beauty of winter by doing something you can only do during this time of year. Take up a winter sport such as cross-country skiing (which you can do in the park if there’s enough snow), build an ice house or photograph/study winter wildlife. Who knows? You might enjoy yourself so much that you look forward to the season all year long. Always consult a doctor if your symptoms of depression do not improve or interfere with your daily life.

No comments:

Post a Comment