|We cannot escape winter unless we fly to warmer climates. Sometimes however returning from a tropical paradise and immersing ourselves into a few more weeks of winter can be traumatic to some of us. For others however it's the cure for them.|
Sadness or despair
Lack of energy
Withdrawal from friends and family
Increased sleepiness and irritability
Loss of interest in work and social activities once enjoyed, including sex
Increased appetite and craving for foods high in sweets and carbohydrates
The following coping strategies are meant for those sufferers of the winter blues If you suffer from the more serious symptoms, these strategies may help but you should consult a doctor. SAD can be very mentally destructive and should be taken seriously.
Embrace Winter Outdoors
In NL there are endless ways to embrace winter. We have no control over Mother Nature's cruel blows. Instead of burrowing inside on a winter day, there are alternatives to help us cope.
On bright sunny days with an adequate snow cover we can snowshoe, physical exercise results in a natural high and two or three hours snowshoeing on a serene woods trail with a thick canopy of trees overhead provides a haven, protecting us from blustery cold winds.
For the speed demons a skidoo trek on one of the many groomed trails in our province ,with the biting air on our cheeks will obliterate any thoughts and cravings for oversleeping or overeating.
The thrill in catching a fish through the ice and immediately cooking it over a crackling fire can fill your soul with an instant euphoria! Spacing your fishing holes far apart will provide you with your own walking course.
Skiing whether its cross-country or downhill is yet another form of exercise easily available in NL. At the end of a run, the anticipation of a steaming cup of hot chocolate or a hot toddy in front of a cozy fire will lift the deepest case of the winter blues.
Something as simple as a walk, even on a cloudy day can boost your mood. A dull sky provides more light than the light boxes some people use in their homes to increase light fusion into their beings. Winter walks especially on wooded trails are wonderful places to identify the many animal tracks and to observe the several species of winter birds.
Embrace Winter Indoors
Storms, illness and physical disabilities, are just a few of the reasons one may not be able to embrace winter outdoors, however there are many activities you can participate in, to shrink those "blah" feelings.
Feed the Winter Birds!
Buy a bird guide, stock up on seed, peanuts and bird treats. The satisfaction you will get from watching the antics of these colorful feathered creatures is immense.
Force Spring Bulbs
Pots of crocuses, daffodils, and tulips on a sunny winter windowsill create an ironic image. Beyond the flowers, the snow outside provides a stark backdrop to the succulent green leaves and crisp fresh blooms.
Visit a local greenhouse or botanical garden
If you work in a windowless cubicle all day, visit to a green house or public garden on your lunch hour can do wonders for your mental health. The smell of warm sweet soil accompanied by humid air will immediately transport you to a more relaxing place. The effect can last for hours.
Let More Light In
Open all your curtains and other window coverings in the day and if you don't need to close them at night don't. Obtain a full spectrum light for reading. The new fluorescent lights are also beneficial for extra light infusion At night, lit candles placed strategically in front of windows and mirrors enhances the romantic side of us all.
Because our ponds and lakes are covered in snow most of the winter outdoor ice skating opportunities are rare. Indoor ice skating under bright lights with music in the background is a mood lifter especially on days that are just too miserable to be outside.
As you gaze out past your spring bulbs and watch the birds feeding, try walking on the spot, using a treadmill, dancing or stretching. Exercise will help you bust those blues! By adding your favorite music to your routines you have increased the health benefits twofold. There are several fitness clubs and centers with bright lights that one can visit or join.
We cannot escape winter unless we fly to warmer climates. Sometimes however returning from a tropical paradise and immersing ourselves into a few more weeks of winter can be traumatic to some of us. For others however it's the cure for them.
Our fast paced lifestyle and the ever-increasing need to multi task has placed mountains of stress on our physical and mental well being. We have unintentionally made ourselves available and accessible to everything and everyone with our use of cell phones, computers and the multi function blackberry. Feelings of guilt sometimes fill our very souls because we are having a down day and just want to relax, and eat and sleep a little more. Mother Nature knows us best. Our internal clocks should reflect the changing seasons.
Embracing winter with a positive and upbeat attitude is a sure way to eliminate if not decrease our sad and blue feelings.
Keep in mind, the first buds of spring are just around the corner!