Surviving the "winter blues"

If you've been feeling a little down in the dumps lately, you're not alone. 14% of adults feel the so-called "winter blues". You long for the days of warm sunshine. Instead, it's cold, cloudy, and everyone's coughing and sneezing. For many, this is when the winter blues set in. Therapist Mary Lou Tabers said, "I talk to people and everyone says, 'You know, I feel a little bit down. I've been stuck in the house. There's no sunlight.' Which makes total sense." Forcing ourselves to get outside is just one tip from Tabers. Even when it's overcast, heading out of the office on that lunch break will help boost your lagging vitamin D. And get that heart pumping. Just walking 20 minutes a day can have a big impact on the brain. Tabers said even doing it 3 days a week will help.For some, the seasonal slump is much worse. 6% suffer from seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Tabers explained what makes SAD much more serious. "It's debilitating," she said. "We can't get out of bed. And we just cannot continue to do our normal routine."Talk to someone if you think you're suffering from SAD. Even just a couple of months of depression puts you at an increased risk for suicide.As for the winter blues, spring will eventually come. But as winter rages on, Tabers encourages you to battle back best you can."Just find ways to get off the couch," she said. For families, Tabers recommends maintaining a normal schedule as much as possible during the winter months- including waking up the same time each day and eating meals at set times each day. For toddlers, she suggests giving them free reign in the bath for 15 minutes with all their toys. Allow them to work off all their energy when getting outside isn't possible. For older kids, encourage the whole family to have a dance competition. You can also learn new card and board games. She adds spouses need to have date nights away from cranky kids. As for your diet during the winter blues, resist the urge to binge on sugary carbs. Those foods might perk you up at first, but you will experience a crash later.
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