Winter Blues?

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, during long, cold, and dreary January, it’s not unusual for us as human beings to enter a state of sadness, restlessness and boredom.   It is so easy to stay inside, warm and cozy in the chair or bed, eat fudge and binge watch “Hoarders” (or whatever is available on TV.)  The winter doldrums can slip up on us without warning. Boredom, lack of motivation, low energy, moodiness and overeating are typical symptoms of “Winter Blues.”  A day, or even two, of vegging out in front of the TV screen eating all day can be fun and relaxing. However, as a lifestyle choice, it is not a satisfying, nor healthy one.

Feeling lazy and listless is easy when its dark, cold, and grey all around us. We can find ourselves in a rut very quickly.   How can we change our focus and keep going and keep growing through the winter, instead of becoming a total couch potato?

  • Stay focused on the long-term.  Plan something to look forward to such as the spring garden or an upcoming summer vacation.
  • Get out and get as much sunlight as possible.  Low light levels can actually alter the way we see the world and the way we feel about our lives and work.
  • Be grateful.  Focus on and be thankful for all the good things in life.
  • Make use of the time by pursuing a new or favorite hobby.  Arts, crafts, woodworking, home repairs even putting together a large jigsaw puzzle gives the mind something to focus on and improves well-being.
  • Eat healthy food and get some exercise.
  • Accomplish at least one project or task every day. It does not matter the size of the task, just do it, and cross it off the list.  Accomplishing any goal, either big or small, provides a surge of dopamine, the brain chemical behind motivation.
  • Manage your screen time. Too much screen time builds fatigue and diminishes mood. And a steady diet of the broadcast news is depressing.

Use the winter intentionally as a time reflection and growth. Take advantage of the slower pace of life and pursue something you’ve always wanted to learn or do.  Enjoy being at home and spend some quality time with family and loved ones. Remember beautiful, warm spring always follows the long, grey winter so keep going and keep growing!


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