Though winter comes with a few drawbacks, you definitely don’t have to turn it into a 6-month suffer-fest. Here are 5 ways you can embrace winter and live better:
- Listen to music. Especially relaxing music. Everyone has different tastes, and different times of day you can use music to create different physical effects. Music for yoga or meditation, including nature sounds, for example, can soothe and relax and help you fall asleep. It can also reduce stress, or it can inspire you in the morning to feel better and more balanced throughout a busy day.
- Breathe. Deeply. No questions about it, deep breathing reduces anxiety. There are lots of breathing exercises. Perhaps the most simple is even breathing. For 10 minutes or even as few as five, inhale counting to four, and exhale counting to four, all through your nose. You’ll naturally feel more calm and relaxed.
- Eat mindfully. Most of us eat our food the same way we rush through our days. Eating mindfully means thinking about what you’re eating as well as slowing down to enjoy it. Make yourself something fresh, healthy, and delicious. Think carefully about the ingredients, the aromas, the textures, and the tastes. Savor the flavors with all your senses.
- Act on your resolutions. The CDC has reported on the link between depression and healthy behaviors. If you made resolutions for 2016, revisit them to see how you’re doing. If you’re not living up to the standard you set, don’t be hard on yourself. Simply make a new plan to move forward. And if you haven’t made any specific resolutions, think about what one thing would make you feel better, and take steps today and tomorrow to get you there.
- Wash your hands. Keeping hands clean is a DIY vaccine. It keeps you and others healthier, and it even saves lives. Wash them as often as you can.
All that said, real winter blues are no joke. With less sunlight, less fresh air, less activity, plus more cravings for unhealthy foods – with seemingly no end to cold days — winter CAN be downright depressing. About 7 percent of people experience genuine depression in winter (called seasonal affective disorder or SAD). It takes a medical professional to diagnose SAD, so if you think you might have it, make an appointment with your doctor or call Southwest Behavioral Services. SAD is something we’ll tackle as another blog topic on another day.