The cold weather is here in full force. Not only does it bring snowmen and hot chocolate, but also more aches, pains, and for many, the cold weather blues. It is known that the change of season can cause depressive feelings. Don’t let that happen to you, here are a few tips to get through the cold weather this year feeling your best.
- Stay physically active. Regular exercise can help boost both your mood and immune system. There are so many ways to stay active during the winter. Do what it is you enjoy doing most. Whether it is participating in group exercise classes in your community, going to the fitness center on a regular basis, getting in the pool for a swim, or maybe it is walking through the halls. Try to pick an activity that increases your heart rate but allows you to still hold a conversation. This is a great way to monitor your intensity level when working out.
- Eat healthy. Winter typically can trigger a “hibernation diet,” one full of sweets and high fat food. Try to avoid that. Eating the proper foods can be beneficial to both the immune system as well as emotional well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids, “the good fats,” have been shown in studies to reduce depression and the associated symptoms. You can consume Omega-3 fatty acids in foods such as walnuts, salmon, and flaxseeds. Vitamin D is also helps boost energy levels. Lastly, remember to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. During the winter it is easy to drink less, but your body still needs water to functional optimally.
- Stay involved in your community. Avoid staying alone in your apartment all day. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, stay connected because you will benefit both emotionally and psychologically. Consider socializing with a new resident, having dinner with friends, volunteering, taking up a new activity, or joining a club. Keeping yourself busy will fill your days with activities and socialization.
- Let the sun in. Keep the blinds open in your apartment and take advantage of the natural heat that the sun produces. Not only does the warmth feel great, but sunlight is a free mood enhancer. Sunlight encourages our body to produce Vitamin D, which can control feelings of satisfaction. The sunlight also regulates our melatonin and serotonin hormones. These are chemicals that the brain releases to control mood.
- Embrace the season. Winter might not be your favorite season, but do your best to accept and enjoy the beauty of what it brings. Try to avoid talking and thinking negatively about it as much as possible, and encourage others to do the same. Researchers say that positive thinkers are often healthier and less stressed.
Making just a few small changes can end up helping you immensely; start incorporating them into your current lifestyle today to see for yourself. Spring flowers and summer nights will be here before you know it, but for now, enjoy the winter!
Check out this blog post about wellness and how it's not just exercise, it's multi dimensional.