Fitness

Make your winter great: Don't let those winter blues stop you from enjoying the season

Author: Canadian Living

Fitness

Make your winter great: Don't let those winter blues stop you from enjoying the season

Many of us feel down in the dumps during the short, cold days of winter. "The winter blues are fairly common," says Karen Liberman, executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. "They are a psychological phenomenon. Don't we all get down on those insufferable, interminably long, gray, stormy, wet, wintery days?"


Stay active
Liberman advises that we stay active to battle the winter blues. "Staying active and getting exercise – nature's antidepressant – is exceedingly important. Never underestimate the power of those endorphins on the brain's chemistry. So get up, get out, get active, embrace the snow and see if your mood doesn't improve,” she says. "Besides, even the little daylight that we get on a winter day can help. Get outside."

Track your activities
Not convinced? This downloadable chart will help you track your activities and their impact on your mood. Jot down your activities for a week, along with how they made you feel. You'll want to include things like naps, socializing, time spent outdoors, meals, work and hobbies. While many of us think nothing could feel better than hibernating alone on the couch, you may be surprised at how good you feel when you get out and get active, especially when you connect with friends.

At the end of the week, it's time to review your chart to see what activities had the biggest positive impact on your mood. The next step is to introduce more of these mood-boosting activities into your day to help ensure a happy, healthy, active winter.

A note about Seasonal Affective Disorder
"It's important to distinguish between the 'winter blues' and Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]," says Liberman.

"SAD is a clinical phenomenon tied to less daylight hours in the winter and a form of clinical depression with all of the accompanying physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms," Liberman explains. "Typically, SAD occurs year after year regardless of weather patterns." If you think you're experiencing something more serious than run-of-the-mill winter blues, such as SAD, it's time to see your family doctor.

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Make your winter great: Don't let those winter blues stop you from enjoying the season

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