Happy New Year!

Bye, Bye Blues

Winter blues may be triggering a sense of gloom and doom to hover about these cold, dark days. Less severe than SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), the winter blues can still be bothersome if not tackled head on. Winter blues can rob you of energy, make cravings for unhealthy foods more intense, difficulty waking up in the morning is more noticeable, and a feeling of melancholy seems relentless. The holidays have passed, so now what?

Chin up, smile…and breathe easy because these tips will help. Keep in mind to always check with a doctor before changing your diet or exercise routine.

-Relax, a little: Why just a little? Let’s blame the holiday season for a few extra pounds that need to be banished. Exercise will help with the winter blues, especially if you’ve set your mind on a February get-a-way. Yes! Plan a trip somewhere warm and see how it makes you smile. A short term goal, like a reunion, vacation, or a party with friends helps winter days to pass like a breath of fresh air and it will motivate you to stay on track with diet and exercise goals.

-Plan a Party: Who doesn’t need a day with friends or family to enjoy all of the Christmas games and movies that have been received? A party will get you moving, help to clear out holiday clutter, and it will be a short term goal that makes many people smile. However, keep it simple! This is a party where all guests bring something to eat and some kind of entertainment. Card games, movies, music, etc. are all welcome. Then, in a few weeks…one of your friends takes a turn to make winter’s passing more fun.

-Eat healthy: I know! This one is easier said, and written, than done, yet it is vital to beating the winter blues. Foods rich in Vitamin D, which increases serotonin levels, like milk, soy milk and salmon are good choices this winter. In addition, foods containing essential B vitamins will keep you nourished, but if you live in a northern zone, then vitamin supplements may be an option. Speak to your doctor if you feel vitamin supplements will assist with the winter blues. Snack on nuts, eat fruit, and enjoy the delicious varieties of whole grain breads available to round out your diet. Shy away from sugary temptations that will only provide a short-lived gush of energy.

-Lighten up: This is a fun way to ward of winter blahs.  Grab a friend and catch up on things as you both get sunshine in your life by taking a morning walk or a late afternoon walk and do so knowing winter will pass. Knowledge is power, so knowing spring is on its way is comforting. Talk about your goals for 2010, trips to take, and your best memories of the holiday. If the holiday was not so great…never fear, discuss ways to make Christmas 2010 the best one ever.

-Get a new hobby: There is time to kill in the winter, so instead of watching TV, write short stories and poems, try finishing that screenplay you started five years ago, start a blog, or read your top ten favorite books. Watercolors are not expensive…go for it and paint something, wood crafting is…crafty, scrapbooking could keep you sane, or maybe learn how to cook Italian or French recipes.

-Connect with Friends: You are not alone! Too many people feel the doldrums of winter. So, take charge. Life is what you put into it…so put some time into reconnecting with old friends. Hearing that person laugh as you recall an old story will also bring much joy to you.

-eBay: Dive into your closets and organize your treasures to start selling on eBay. You’ll be surprised how much money you can make selling items that are in excellent condition, but are no longer needed by you. This is a tip that could turn your winter blues…green.

-Shop: Is that a bad word to use so shortly after the holiday? I believe not since deals are to be found. Stock up on gifts for upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. Picture frames, movies, music CDs, home accessories, and clothes are on sale. Get some exercise while you shop and walk a few, extra laps around the mall before heading out into the cold.

-Volunteer: This is the best winter blues tip. Once, I was told by a wise woman to always think about others first, and then everything else will fall into place. If you are feeling lost and a bit sad this winter, help someone else through it. Volunteer with the United Way, a local church, a local school, or any of the many organizations that are in dire need of support. The little bit of time you give will cover you in a warmth you’ve never known.

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