|Posted on November 16, 2010 at 5:10 PM|
Daylight savings times ended a week ago, and now I'm dreading the winter blues...
Here are 5 of what I have found to be the most effective ways to fend off those winter blues:
1. Make it a priority to socialize. Surrounding yourself with family and friends will make you happier. Though it might be less than desirable to trudge through snow or 20 degree weather, studies show that people who socialize more are less depressed and fend off illness more easily.
2. Get physical. Study after study has shown that exercise increases serotonin levels (the chemical that makes us happy). Also, the knowledge that you’re staying healthy and in shape could increase happiness, not to mention prevent holiday weight gain.
3. Quiet time. Makingsure you get adequate rest—but not oversleeping—is vital. Researchers recommend (a) getting on a sleeping routine in which you go to bed and wake up around the same time; (b) make sure your room is completely dark to avoid distractions as you try to dozeoff; it is also helpful to turn off cell phones and computers; (c) a 15-minute meditation before going to bed is recommended if you have an especially difficult time falling asleep.
In addition, Time magazine recently reported that hatha yoga helps treat mood swings and depression because of the breath work itinvolves. As a result, it reducesanxiety and can help lower blood pressure.
4. Get out in the sun. Throughout the winter months, even if it’s cold, make it a point to get out in the natural light, even if only for a few minutes. Not only will it improve your mood, but also helpyou get your daily dosage of vitamin D.
5. Eat better. During the winter we tend to reach for comfort foods—pasta, bread, burgers. Sometimes the heaviness and unhealthiness of a meal can weigh on our moods. Try to go for a low-fat soup with clear broth and lots of veggies for a healthier comfort food. If that doesn’t satisfy you, try whole-grain pastas and breads.
Another recommendation is getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Study after study has demonstrated that this acid relieves depression. Salmon and mackerel are known to have high levels of omega-3s, but if you don’t like fish you can get them in nuts, flaxseed (about 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed daily at onlyabout 50 calories does the trick), or fish oil pills.