We’re all familiar with the blues. Before this musical from morphed into rock and roll in the 1950s and ’60s, the blues were a sonic expression for feeling heartsick and lonesome—the perfect soundtrack for a cold winter’s night. It’s natural to feel low this time of year, with the chilly air keeping us indoors and the lack of sunlight playing tricks with our circadian rhythms.
The “winter blues”—or its nastier cousin, seasonal affective disorder (codename SAD)—is a physiological response to the short dark days, the frigid temperatures, and isolation of the season. Symptoms range from low energy and feeling generally “blah,” to significant depression—something to watch for and treat early and often. Although our days are getting longer (slowly), we’re still in the throes of winter. If you’re feeling a bit down and need to shake off the winter blues, here are four ideas for consideration:
1. Shake off the blues—literally.
No matter the ailment, exercise is almost always an answer. When it comes to the winter blues, endorphins from physical activity give your brain a little jolt. If the weather isn’t too blustery, take a walk during the day to soak up some vitamin D while you’re exercising. Better yet, sign up for a Zumba class to dance the blues away. Hot cha cha!
2. Boogie woogie to the produce aisle.
Nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables will keep your body humming through an otherwise stagnant season. After taking a sunny stroll or an exercise class, head over to the grocery store to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables. One of the miracles of our time is being able to find out-of-season produce all year long, so enjoy some avocado or pineapple to get your mind thinking about warmer weather. Or, try some locally grown in-season kale. Cut it into 1-2-inch pieces, toss it with olive oil and a little salt, and bake on 275 for 20 minutes for a delicious “chip.”
3. Light up your life.
The cold air is one thing, but the lack of sunlight is really what gets you down in the winter. Even a 30-minute walk during the lunch hour can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. But if you can’t find the time or if the weather just won’t cooperate, consider buying a sun lamp. Setting it up on your desk and basking in some bright lights for a few minutes a day will recharge your batteries and keep you going.
4. Get the band back together.
Diet, exercise, and social activity are the trifecta of a healthy lifestyle. In the winter, we might stay home more and interact with people less. After all, it’s certainly not barbeque season. However, meeting friends for happy hour or making a lunch date can make a big difference in the quality of your days, so be sure not to neglect your social life this season.
In a couple short winters, The Village at Providence Point will be open and operational, and we will have all kinds of opportunities for you to get active, connect with your friends, and stay so busy all winter long that you won’t have time to experience the winter blues. We’re looking forward to it!