Changing The Winter Blahs Into The Winter Aahhhs!

You started off the New Year with lofty goals and boundless enthusiasm but the end of February is now here and you might easily find your inspiration lacking.

Research shows that the February blues tend to be a result of the lull that occurs about now after the festivities of the New Year. From November to January 1st there is a lot to look forward to but then abruptly it seems to end. And for those who live in the cold north, motivation may be waning after months of being trapped indoors.

The winter blues affect mood, can dampen social life and impact work productivity. What to do?

Maximize Your Exposure to Natural Light. Don’t let below-freezing temperatures cause your productivity and mood to plummet. Light enters the brain through the eyes and impacts serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that play a role in boosting mood.

Sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication! Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows also can help provide an extra dose of sunshine.

Simulate Dawn. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that usually begins in late fall or early winter and fades as the weather improves, may feel depressed, irritable, lethargic and have trouble waking up in the morning—especially when it’s still dark out.

Studies show that a dawn simulator, a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed.

Get Your Heart Pumping. Exercising under bright lights can help seasonal depression. New research found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, depressive symptoms and vitality, while exercising in ordinary light improved vitality only.

Change Your Winter Attitude. The key to changing your mood is to alter your attitude about winter. Instead of seeing it as a long, never-ending season, try to see it as an opportunity to do things that can only be done in the winter. Take up skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing or ice skating and you’ll quickly see your winter mood warm up.

Get Outside. Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big: Spending time outside (even when it's chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels.

*The information in this blog was taken from multiple sources in the public domain.