How to keep your chin up when the weather is bringing you down
At this dreary time of the year in the heart of the Midwest, the sky is a constant gray and our moods are blue.
During the peak of winter, it is common to fall prey to the winter blues or more seriously, seasonal depression.
Though it seems like we’ll never see the sun again, there are several ways to keep your chin up.
It is well-known that music is good for the soul — even science proves this.
A study done by the University of Missouri in 2013 shows that upbeat and cheery music can help you feel happier.
The key here is that you have to actively try to feel happier, and happy music can help while you’re doing so.
This one seems obvious, but natural light isn’t readily available when it’s constantly gloomy, dark and cold outside.
The lack of light is one of the main causes of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons and is typically more prevalent in the winter.
Mimicking natural light through light therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for SAD.
Sitting in front of a light box for 20 minutes, three times a day has been shown to improve symptoms.
Light boxes can be relatively expensive. If this isn’t an option for you, taking advantage of warmer, sunnier days or rearranging your living space to take advantage of east-facing windows are other options.
Make opening you blinds in the morning a part of your routine. Trust me, it helps.
Exercise your body and mind
A little exercise never hurt anyone.
Whether it is exercising at home or at a gym, completing a crossword puzzle, expressing your creativity or challenging yourself in other ways, exercising your body and mind is beneficial for beating the winter blues.
Consider taking up a new hobby.
Having activities and goals to accomplish and look forward to is critical.
Though carbs and sweets make you feel good in the moment, they can also negatively affect your mood.
Providing your body and mind with foods high in protein and healthy fats is important to keeping your energy up and preventing slumps of depression and anxiety.
Addressing your depressive or anxious symptoms is the first step to overcoming these feelings.
The Counseling Center on campus is a great resource. Not only do they provide therapy services on-site, but they put on several stress and depression workshops every semester.
It always seems easier to seclude ourselves in the winter for many different reasons, but isolation can lead to depression.
Interact with your colleagues — chances are, they’re also trying to conquer the winter blues.
Staying focused and accomplishing goals is a surefire way to keep trudging forward.
Focus on one day at a time, and eventually you can step outside, breathe in the fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun and hear the birds singing. Believe it or not, spring (and better days) is just around the corner.