Online counselling. Counselling to improve feelings. Prevent the Winter Blues – Ivana Straska, M. A.
Prevent the Winter Blues

Prevent the Winter Blues

MoodHow to prevent the winter blues as winter approaches? In winter months we lack sunlight that has always been regarded as an antidote to fatigue and lethargy. Winter depression accounts for about 10 percent of cases of major depression. At this time of the year you intentionally want to give to yourself. Listen to your body, take breaks, rest and keep warm. Here are some tips to prevent or lessen sad feelings:

1. Stay outside. Despite of cold weather go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on bright days. Inside your home, choose pale colors that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can. Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk, in the middle of the day is helpful for coping with the winter blues. Spend your lunch breaks outdoor unless the extreme weather hits our region.

2. Keep warm. Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes and aim to keep your home between 19C and 22C. Being cold makes you depressed. It’s also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half.

3. Eat healthy. A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Make sure you supply sufficient minerals and vitamins to your body.

4. Keep your body active. Join clubs, learn a new sport, go swimming, get warm in sauna, start yoga, join a gym, or do anything that appeals to you and it engages you physical activity.

5. Keep your mind active. Find new interests that excite you or return to those you always loved. You might enjoy playing cards, Sudoku, crosswords, writing journal or a blog, learn about foreign countries and cultures, and learn new language or playing a musical instrument. Start reading self-help books for personal or spiritual development; learn to think less negatively to improve your mood.

6. Reach in. Your inner life is a source. Meditation, prayers, inspirational reading, observation of nature and life illuminate your journey through darkness of winter. Commit to personal growth during long winter evenings. Get DVD or audio books with breathing and stretching exercises, create your personal statements and commit to them. Spend time and enjoy activities you put aside in summer. Boost optimism by finding beauty in every day even in snow, wind or frost. Feel the blessings you can experience your life. Give 10 minutes of good feeling every day to someone. You will notice a change not only in their lives but in yours.

7. Socialize and reach out. Make an effort to keep in touch with people, accept invitations, host your friends and family. Talk to your friends and family, re-connect with people. Socializing helps ward off the winter blues. Get to social events even for a little while. Talk to people around you, send a smile and receive a smile. Lift your spirit through giving and receiving. Share with others. Join a support group. Sharing has very therapeutic impact and it makes challenges more bearable.

Everyone feels sad or depressed once in a while. Be alarmed if you notice that sadness affects your health, relationships, performance, social life, or when you feel sad day after day.

You might need help if  you are feeling very low and you identify lasting psycho-somatic symptoms of depression:

– Low mood, markedly diminished interest or pleasure, lost in thoughts, loss of self-confidence, feeling of worthlessness, increased irritability, lost in thoughts, inability to concentrate, guilt, indecisiveness, frequent crying, suicidal thoughts, loss of weight / gain weight, overeating / loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, tiredness, low energy, constipation, headaches, pain syndrome.

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