winterbackyardDo you have those winter blues? If you suspect you do, you are not alone. Here in the suburbs of Chicago, we have not seen the bare ground since December: Nothing but snow and ice since before Christmas…  Seriously, we are running out of places to put the shoveled snow. I have 7’ piles of the white stuff in the front driveway. And it is not just the Midwest. It has been a harsh winter for many in the Northern Hemisphere.  And then let’s talk about the frigid temperatures!  We have seen more below zero days than I care to remember. Any visions of warm, swaying palm trees are quickly erased by the freezing wind chill that takes your breath away when you step outside.  So much for daydreaming…

Now as we head into the middle of February, the dog days of winter drag on. They actually have a term for a mild to severe depression that can set in this time of year. Known as “Seasonal Effect Disorder”, all of us may experience this downturn in energy from time to time. Some of the symptoms include the tendency to oversleep, over indulge in alcohol and over eat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include poor concentration, lack of incentive, withdrawal from social interaction, pessimistic feelings and low self-worth as well as a general lack of energy. Yuck…

Below are some easy tips for battling winter depression:

Sunlight: Warm sunlight can be hard to find in the winter. Still, even on the coldest days, any form of natural sun light is helpful – even if it is through a window.  As a sunlight alternative, they sell mood or “happy lights” at most wellness/convenience stores like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.

Vitamins: A low dose of Vitamin D and even Melatonin can help with the winter blues; assisting with better sleep patterns and general mood. Consult with your doctor first.

Exercise: Try and push yourself to exercise; even if it has to be indoors. Aerobic house cleaning and winter hikes in the nature preserves are potential options.

Diet: Try to keep stick with a lower carbohydrate diet and refrain from fried or processed foods. Watch your sugar and alcohol intake too. Don’t forget to Juice!

Meditation: Keep up with your meditative practice. Centering yourself in the moment will enhance mood and your positivity.

Have Faith: Yep, have faith that winter is only temporary and that warmer weather is on its way! …I hope LOL

 

John C. Bader

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