5 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues

This winter has been a long one – a really long one.  I’m sure that you’re getting sick of the cold, wintry weather full of inhumane wind-chill temperatures, tons of snow and dreary skies. Honestly, it gets so tiresome that it makes you think spring will never come again. It’s hard not to get a little down and out during the last stretch of winter, in fact, the last Monday of January is called “Blue Monday” and is considered the most depressing day of the year. That’s the onset of winter woes and they continue until the first signs of spring. So how can you combat those winter blues?

 

Exercise – Even during winter months it’s important to maintain your weight and stay healthy, so exercise is key.  If you’re one to stay indoors you can get a gym membership, work out with a Wii Fit, adopt a DVD exercise regimen or  join an indoor sports club like curling, bowling, racquetball, you name it; just doing some kind of exercise will vastly improve your mood , pass time and keep you fit even during the darkest months. For those of you who don’t mind the cold, skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing are great options.  Getting rid of our pent up energy in the winter helps us clear our minds and prepares our bodies for spring.

Treat Yourself – A great way to counter the winter blues is to have something to look forward to.  So go on, come up with a list of things that you can do that will make you happy. Ideas may include a day at the spa, a night at the theatre, a romantic weekend getaway, a sporting event or even an all-inclusive vacation down south.  Just having something marked on your calendar that you are excited about, can make the winter seem less menacing.

Embrace the Weather – You chose to live in a cold wintry place, so you may as well try to make the most of it. Instead of avoiding the cold at all costs, why not try an outdoor activity on one of the milder days? You can bundle up in warm clothes, grab a hot chocolate and head out with your family to a local skating rink, like Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. How about finding a great tobogganing hill nearby – kids are not the only ones who can have fun doing this! Grabbing your skis and hitting the slopes is also a great way to embrace winter and make it seem a little less depressing.

Hibernate – Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you have to be blue. This is the time of year you do not need to have an excuse to stay at home. So pour a glass of wine, light a fire, find a good book and settle in for the night. During winter months it’s also dark for a lot longer, so you can literally hibernate. Catch up on some Zzzs – stay in bed longer than you usually do. It’s recommended that the average adult get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. I’m not sure if you can stockpile your energy for the spring, but I know that you’ll feel extra refreshed once it rolls around.

Catch Some Rays – Vitamin D is vitally important to humans, and the greatest source of this vitamin is the sun. The problem is that during the winter, we get way less sun and are often not too interested in sunbathing in frigid temperatures. So what can you do? Some people take supplements and a lot of Canadians take a southern vacation to soak up the rays for a week. However, you don’t need to do either. Try spending a little time outdoors during daylight hours – whether you take a stroll around the block, go to the dog park or shovel your walkway. There are also many vitamin D-rich foods like fish, eggs and mushrooms.  Once spring arrives we will all be soaking up tons of vitamin D from the sun – and remember, spring is just around the corner!

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