The holidays are over and we are now right in the middle of winter, which is a time when some people are susceptible to depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I know I have succumbed to the “winter blues” a time or two. So how can a busy mom keep her sanity when the grass is brown, the temperatures are frigid and spring and summer seem so very far away? Here are a few tips to keep you from feeling “blue”:
- The most important tip is to get some sun! Even if it is cold outside, bundle up and go for a brisk and possibly short walk. Your body needs vitamin D for normal functioning and to prevent disease. You may not be getting enough from drinking fortified milk. Did you know that you need to drink a liter of milk a day to get the same amount of vitamin D from 10 minutes of sun exposure? (Be sure to practice safe sun exposure.) Some conditions that can result from a lack of vitamin D or natural sunlight are cancer, autoimmune diseases, allergies, learning disabilities, depression or SAD and diabetes.
- Have a monthly or bi-monthly dinner party. Planning and hosting dinners give you a purpose and outlet for socializing. If hosting a party is out of your budget or you don’t have much space, just invite one couple or family over for a casual dinner and get to know you. Who knows? You may make a new friend to keep you company during this time of year.
- Travel! Most people reserve their travelling for summer, mainly because the kids are free of school, but if you have younger children or homeschool your children, plan your yearly vacation in the middle of winter. My husband and I went to Aruba in early January and enjoyed 80 degree temperature and sunny beaches! So head for a tropical location to warm yourself up. And sometimes those loving grandparents might be willing to watch the kids and take them to school so Mom and Dad can have a getaway!
- I am sure you are not going to want to hear the last two. It seems to be the answer for every problem, but it is true and I am going to say it anyway: Exercise regularly. Exercise improves your mood by releasing endorphins (feel good hormones) in your brain. You will also feel more confident and have a better self-esteem. Exercise also improves your energy level.
- Eat right. Avoid eating simple carbohydrates (i.e., white rice, breads, sugar) because they quickly elevate the sugar in your bloodstream, stimulating lots of insulin release which causes a quick drop in blood sugar. That blood sugar high followed by a steep low cause irritability, fatigue and depressed moods. For examples of foods that will boost your mood and overall health, check out this post: Super Foods for a Super You!
By implementing some or all of these tips, hopefully you can avoid the “Winter Blues”. I hope every one has a happy winter and a great 2013!
**Disclaimer: If you are having constant depressing thoughts or are tired and listless most of the day every day, you may have a more serious condition and should seek professional or medical help.