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Avoid the Winter Blues

By Sara Butler

Winter is here and it's not going anywhere for a while. For some people, winter brings fun things such as ice skating and hot cocoa, while for others the lack of sunlight and shorter days leave them feeling down. If you're part of the latter group, you're not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that up to 20 percent of people can feel down during the winter. There are things you can do to help you get over the winter hump and have a brighter outlook.

What's Going On?

So, why do people suffer from the winter blues? The lack of sunlight can have an actual physiological impact on your body, inhibiting its production of melatonin and serotonin. Lack of these hormones can make it difficult to feel motivated, to focus, and can leave you feeling as if you're just lacking in energy in general. Winter blues can be mild or severe, or somewhere in-between, but there are things you can do to help yourself.

What You Can Do

There are a few things you can do to help you get out of the winter slump and look forward to brighter, longer days ahead. To help avoid or control your winter blues, you should:

  • Exercise - Maintaining some level of physical activity is good for your body and your mind. Working out has a positive impact on your mood and is a great thing you can do to improve your mental health. Plus, you'll feel physically better after a good sweat session.
  • Reduce stress - Reducing stress is easier said than done for many people, but since stress can have an impact on your health, it's important to pay attention to. Figure out ways you can cope with the stressors in your life.
  • Go outdoors - Even though there's not as much sunlight, it's still good to get outside and soak up whatever rays you can. Find an outdoor activity that appeals to you and dress warmly, then get yourself outside for a little fun.
  • Adjust your diet - Some people seek out comfort food when winter weather strikes, but those foods can spell trouble for your overall health if you overindulge. Try to avoid processed foods and sugar, focusing instead on drinking enough water and eating a varied diet full of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Winter can drag on for a while, but it doesn't have to drag you down in the process. Making just a few small changes can help to make winter more bearable and help you see the spring light at the end of the tunnel.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Edmond, Okla.

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