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Beating the Winter Blues

The winter blues are very common, with many of us experiencing a mood shift during the colder, darker days of winter. To beat the winter blues, you must align your thoughts and emotions with the positive aspects of your life — friendships, family, experiences and circumstances.

Where to start?

Think of a few times when you felt full of joy and peace. Some memories may involve time spent with close friends and family. Here are some helpful tips to try and beat the winter blues:

  • Try writing down helpful affirmations that you can say to yourself that encourage.
  • Spend time with the people in your life who bring you joy, energy and peace.
  • Try to stop yourself being negative and shift your thoughts and actions to the positive side.
  • Talking with a counsellor may also be helpful, particularly if you wish to learn cognitive behavioural strategies for coping and become more accountable for your actions.
  • Make sure you have enough exposure to natural sunlight, particularly in the early morning hours. Light therapy can be used for those who live in climates where sunlight is rare during the winter months.
  • Exercise, especially outdoor exercise, help regulate serotonin and melatonin. Taking daily walks outside exposes us to nature, vitamin D (if the sun is out) and perhaps other people.

Spending time outside

Getting outside into nature is one of the best ways to improve mood. Aim for at least 20 minutes daily of outdoor time.

Your outside time might include meditating, eating breakfast, gardening or even just sitting in a rocking chair. Nature doesn’t have to be a place you take great efforts to travel to, like a national park or a forest preserve. Instead, embrace your garden, patio or local park as a place where you can enjoy fresh air and trees.

It’s natural to feel a little down during the winter. However, if you make an effort to align your thoughts and emotions with positive energies and make sure you are taking care of your body’s nutritional and physical needs, you can be happy and healthy year-round.

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