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5 Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

When the days get shorter and we are exposed to less light each day, it can be hard to keep the pep in our step. And for an estimated 2% of the population, the winter blues are much more than feeling lethargic. Seasonal affective disorder is just like depression, but only occurs during certain times of the year. Most researchers believed it is caused by the variations in natural light during the winter, which explains why it is typically at its worst in January and February.

The symptoms of seasonal depression include wanting to sleep more, feeling hopeless, struggling with insomnia, and a lack of motivation. When you’re dealing with seasonal depression, it’s also common to crave carbohydrates, sweet treats, and fattening foods. For many, this results in weight gain from overindulgence in the foods that comfort them most.  

If you think you suffer from seasonal depression, see your doctor. For everyone else experiencing the winter blues, try these six mood-boosting tips.

  1. Keep Moving! Exercise isn’t just a great way to maintain your weight, it can boost your mood. Even if you’re short on time, 10 to 15 minutes of high intensity exercise can do wonders, especially if you can get outside in the sunlight.
  2. Practice Self-Care. Instead of reaching for sweet treats, build new habits into your routine that provide you comfort. Use Sweet Defeat, a lozenge that’s clinically proven to stop sugar cravings, then indulge in an exceptional loose-leaf tea, practice yoga, or light candles and take a bath.
  3. Reach Out. When it is cold and dark in the evenings, it’s easy to isolate ourselves by staying in and watching TV. Boredom is the enemy of the winter blues! Make plans with friends regularly this winter to grab coffee, see a movie, or go for a walk.
  4. Seek Support. If you have concerns that your seasonal depression is more than you can handle, talk to you doctor about seeing a therapist or get involved in support groups for people struggling with depression.
  5. Try Light Therapy. Treating seasonal depression isn’t always easy, but doctors have consistently seen improvements by prescribing light therapy. Sitting under a light box (which you can purchase online) for at least half an hour a day might give you the mood boost you need.

Remember that you’re not alone in suffering from the winter blues! Give yourself the extra support you need, and you’ll create healthy habits you can keep the whole year long.