How to overcome Winter Blues

How to overcome Winter Blues

Shorter days, longer nights means winter has arrived. Many people find themselves feeling more lethargic and down overall. These are symptoms of depression that arrive with dark and colder months or known as Winter Blues. Some of us have serious mood changes year after year and it increases throughout the fall and winter during the time when there is less natural sunlight.   

The winter blues are very common, as many of us experience mood changes or mood shift during the colder and darker winter after the festive holiday. According to Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist, “the winter blues are generally characterized by a lack of energy and feelings of irritability, sadness and apathy.”  If your winter blues start affecting all aspects of life like poor performing at your workplace, relationship issues, then these are the symptoms of SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression or disorder associated with the seasonal changes.

It is important for us that we identify the winter blues during initial stage and not to confuse with SAD as winter blues are more time-limited than SAD. Winter blues are less severe with comparison of SAD, affect as sadness, shorter concentration, lack of interest in fun activities, haplessness, appetite changes, etc. It is recommended to consult with a health professional to diagnose that it is only the blues not SAD. 

When you are not suffering from SAD but just the winter blues, there are some fixes in our daily schedule and adopting specific yoga practices  to overcome it: 

  1. Absorbing Natural Sunlight Everyday – Natural sunlight is very important for your health. It helps us to regulate your Sleep-wake cycles as it gets disturbed during shorter and lower level of natural sunlight. The natural sunlight produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is responsible to regulate your mood.  Schedule 20 minutes to absorb sunlight everyday that helps you to elevate your mood. Also, it would be helpful if you can revamp your office and home to expose for more natural light during the winter season. 
  2. Fix your Sleeping Routine – Sleep deprivation is one of the main causes of feeling depression. Most of the health consultant recommends quality sleep of eight hours each night. This restorative sleep cycle will help you to improve your energy level and regulate your mood. You need to fix your sleep routine and stick to it during the winter time.
  3. Use of Healthy and Heating Foods – Favorite foods make us feel good. Apart from tasting and nourishing the body, it influences on appetite and mood. Various studies show that certain foods affect strong mood changers brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. These are made from the food that we take during our daily life.  For Winter blues, the combination of protein and carbohydrates diet can be very beneficial. That primarily includes : 
    1. Whole grain bread with tomato sliced combined with an apple. 
    2. User Citrus fruits like a  bed of brown rice with fresh lemon juice. 
    3. Oatmeal with nonfat milk. 
    4. Nuts and dried fruits
    5. Apple with nut butter 
    6. Use more baked fruits & vegetables  like cinnamon apples, sweet potato fries
    7. Use of hot drinks – Ginger Tea, Green Tea, Coffee, Black Bean Soup, Pumpkin Soup
    8. Use of Spices and Herbs in diet like Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Garlic
  4. Practicing Restorative Yoga – A restorative yoga practice i.e. yoga nidra can help you to rejuvenate the body and mind. Restorative yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for producing certain chemicals in your body that make us to react quickly and accomplish a lot of things in a shorter period of time.  Restorative yoga is a practice of passive stretching of the body. Restorative yoga makes your body muscles in deep relax. Restorative yoga is intended to mindfulness that is part of all yoga disciplines at an advanced level. In restorative yoga, you body is positioned in a very comfortable and relaxing mode so that the muscle of the body can be decompressed and the mind can get completely stable. It aligns your breathing with your body and mind by practicing stillness or slow movements for extending durations. It encourages better sleeping and improvements in mental health. It’s a wonderful stress-buster as it balance out a fast-paced lifestyle. 
  5. Practicing Meditation & Mindfulness technique  – Every depression is a result of some sort of stress, anxiety and unhealthy lifestyle. Meditation is a wonderful ancient techniques to promote relaxation for body and mind and improve the state of mind. Meditation techniques are the most suitable ways to deal with the symptoms of winter blues and other depressive disorders. While mindfulness reduces overthinking pattern of the brain as it fills the mind with positive thoughts purposefully and promote the awareness. In mindfulness, the stressful and depressed thoughts are replaced with positive thoughts and positive thoughts.
  6. Expose yourself for Emotional Light – Relating yourself with loved ones and other is one of the best ways to deal with your depression. The emotional light is as important as natural sunlight when it comes to dealing with your winter blues depression. You can plan social activities like meeting with friends, spending time with children, hosting a dinner for friends will be beneficial. Try not to sit alone at home and curse the darkness of life. 

During the winter season, you need to maintain a regular schedule of your healthy habits including your lifestyle, diet, sleeping cycles as it will help you to balance and regulate your mood. If you go for restorative yoga, meditation and mindfulness techniques to overcome your winter blues, then you can consult with a yoga professional in yoga studios or yoga schools. Also, some yoga studios organize short yoga retreats during winter season which are designed to help you to deal with the symptoms of winter blues by balancing your diet, maintaining a perfect sleeping cycles and practicing of yoga nidra, restorative yoga meditation and mindfulness.



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