If you're like most people whose mood is impacted by the winter season, chances are you've woken up on a gray, winter day and wanted to stay in bed. We understand a case of the winter blues is likely to develop like the common cold. We have come up with a couple of ways to overcome this season's case of the winter blues, and we hope you can find the sunshine even on the rough days.
Exercise regulates your overall mood and energy levels. There is a lot of research is showing its ability to relieve things like depression. Regular exercise may be enough to take care of mild cases of seasonal depression for some people. It may not eliminate depression completely, but it does provide symptom relief sort of like taking a pill for a headache.
Research has shown that long-term exercise can increase resilience to stress, which may slow down stress-related wear and tear on the brain.
2. Make a Book or Movie List
Winter is a great time to read those books or watch those movies you’ve been meaning to see. Challenge yourself to read some of the books you said you were going to as a new year resolution. Watching comedies will help keep you in a cheerful mood while the days are short and snowy. You can invite friends over and make it a social event, having a few good laughs with friends and/or family will certainly ward off any hint of the winter blues.
3. Bright Colors
As the weather gets colder and the days are shorter, it’s easy to catch a case of the winter blues, especially when getting dressed. Gray, navy and other deep tones tend to dominate the wardrobe during the winter months, while bright, flashy colors taking a back seat. Colors have a psychological effect on us, we associate the color yellow with happiness and cheer. Orange is associated with warmth, joy, and fun.
Seeing bright colors on a cold gray day can really improve our mood because our minds become stimulated and produce endorphins (happy hormones) that brighten our moods (your mood will continue to brighten from all of the compliments you’ll get from people as you stand out from the crowd).
4. Start a Project
There’s no time like winter to start a home project, like tidying the house or eradicate, all the old clothes or toys from your kids’ closets. Not only can this help distract you from stresses, but it can provide you with a sense of accomplishment that you may have been needing; especially if other things are not panning out like you thought they were. Projects, like organizing closets, painting rooms, and straightening out the garage, are great activities for the gloomy months of the year.
5. Try Something New
Trying something new essentially rewires the brain. Take full advantage of the indoor days by learning a new musical instrument (or a new piece of music), a new language, or maybe cook something spectacular you pinned on Pinterest for dinner.
6. Make Winter Mood Foods
If you have a slow cooker or instant pot, winter is an excellent time to experiment with delicious mood-raising stews, casseroles, and pasta dishes. Some great in-season ingredients to think about including are squash (a great source of magnesium and potassium), eggplant (which contains fiber, vitamin B1,and manganese), turnip (full of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate), and garlic (which is able to help fight off the cold and flu season due to its ability to boost the immune system).
7. Hang With Positive People
This is especially essential in the winter when you’re usually inside with people chatting over a cup of coffee. The people who hang around you influence you more than you realize. In one study completed by Nicholas Christakis, MD, Ph.D, from Harvard Medical School and James Fowler, Ph.D, from the University of California, people who associated themselves with happier individuals were more likely to be happy as well.
8. Talk to Your Doctor
When none of these options are helping or not helping enough, it may be time to consult your physician about other options that can be available to you.
If you feel like you need to talk to someone, there is NEVER any shame in that. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English and Spanish 1-800-273-8255, Click for the website and live chat. For outside of the U.S. please click here.
At Cognitive FX, we understand this time of year can be very taxing for individuals who are living with or without post-concussion syndrome or symptoms (PCS). We want to help you and your loved ones enjoy the winter season as much as possible.