10 Ways to Raise Your Winter Spirit
People don’t notice if it’s winter or summer when they are happy. – Anton Chekhov
It is estimated that 10 – 20% of all Americans may suffer from the winter blues also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is more prevalent in colder climates, such as a place like Gray (Grand) Rapids. Interestingly enough, people from colder climates are less susceptible to developing SAD. Maybe to say they are acclimated to the climate?! This phenomenon affects sleep, mood, energy, hormone levels, food cravings and so much more. However, there are a few ways to counteract SAD:
• Get social. Brave the cold and get out of the house. During the winter months it’s easy to walk in the door, toss your shoes, flip on the TV and hunker down on the couch. But if you make plans with a few of your lovely ladies, you will have something to look forward to, which in turn will keep your spirits high.
• Staying in doesn’t have to mean a lonely night. Have a sleepover. Invite your favorite girlfriends over for an old-fashion PJ party. Nothing boosts your mood quite with a few good belly laughs with some of your favorite people.
• Maintain a regular pattern of sleep. Don’t let the darkness put you to bed too early. For the mornings, program your coffee maker, the sweet aroma of fresh brew is sure to draw you out of bed. For the evening, hit the gym after work, and create some projects for yourself inside the house (clean a closet, sort through your clothes)
• Take a road trip. Do something fun. Go shopping at the outlet mall or visit a relative – shake up the pace.
• Considering adding Melatonin and Vitamin D to your regimen. Living in Michigan we see majority of our 160 days of sunshine during the summer, and during the winter months, we lack sunshine most days. Adding Vitamin D can help boost your immune system and keep you healthy throughout the winter months. Melatonin can help you fall into a better night’s sleep and feel more rested and energized for all the activities you are looking forward to taking part in
• Give some love; volunteer your time; donate some clothing. You know how I mentioned cleaning out your closet and sorting through your clothes? Take them to the locate shelter and volunteer a few hours. People aren’t quite your thing? Spend some time at the local humane society.
• Let there be Light! Sit by a window – open the blinds – grab some sunshine. Gray skies frequent the west Michigan heavens this time of year, so when the sun shines…SOAK it in!
• Maintain healthy behaviors. Individuals that practice positive health habits have fewer sad days. It’s not rocket science. Those that maintain the healthy habits are less likely to be ill, and their body is releasing feel good hormones and they likely have a high confidence level.
• Change your light bulbs. Use full spectrum bulbs during the winter which mimic natural light. Bright light therapy is known to increase mood, productivity, mental awareness and Vitamin D absorption in the body. You want to purchase a lamp with at 10,000 lux of white light
• Send out Valentines – this is a must do for me every year. Who doesn’t love receiving a little something special? Remind others how much they mean to you. Bonus: It’s a feel good for you too!