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Finding Joy in the Bleakness of Winter

Finding Joy in the Bleakness of Winter
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As winter approaches, many of us can have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the gorgeous landscapes, holiday celebrations, and time off of work can be nice. However, sometimes, the dark nights and cloudy days can leave us feeling down in the dumps. If you feel this way, then know that you are not alone. The good news is that there are many ways that you can feel better during the bleakness of winter, and many of them are also beneficial for your physical health. Today, we will talk a bit about why we can feel down during the colder months and several ideas to get you out of your funk.

Why You Feel Sad During the Winter

While most of us are excited about the arrival of winter, the season can quickly begin to lose its luster as time goes on. As the clouds roll in, we can start to feel depressed and find that we lack the energy that we had just a month earlier. The fact is that these feelings affect many people every year, and there is even a name for it: seasonal affective disorder.

Essentially, this “disorder” can also be known as the “winter blues” because it is during the final months of the year when we can start to feel lethargic, tired, and unhappy. Scientists believe that these feelings develop due to a lack of light during the winter season. Natural light is essential to our well-being because it helps our bodies to produce vitamin D, which helps us to focus, be more productive, and feel happier. When that light fades away, it is only natural to lose some of the excitement we once had.

If you are feeling depressed, then try some of these methods for rediscovering your joy:

Keep Moving

When it is dark and cloudy outside, many of us have a tendency to stay inside and hide under the covers, but doing so will only make our negative feelings persist. Instead, you need to get up and get active. Proper exercise can help to fill us with natural energy, clear our heads and help us to burn calories so we can be ready for those holiday dinners. To get in the best shape possible, consider aerobic exercises like cycling, swimming, and aerobic dance.

Consume a Healthy Diet

Along with the implementation of a daily exercise routine, you should also make an effort to maintain a healthy diet. When you eat clean foods, you feel better overall and rev up your metabolism as opposed to the heavy food at restaurants that are loaded with trans fats, which can make you feel lethargic. You don’t necessarily need to strip yourself of the possibility of eating good food, either. There are many healthy comfort foods like spaghetti squash casserole and spinach quesadillas that can make you feel warm and cozy without the excess calories.

Get Enough Sleep

Another secret to beating winter sadness is to get enough sleep. No, we don’t mean that you should sleep away every day. We mean that you need to be smart about how you go to bed every night so you can get the seven to nine hours of rest necessary to heal your body from the day before and refresh your mind for the day ahead. If you have trouble sleeping, then you may need to reset your circadian rhythm, which you can do by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Also, avoid looking at your phone while lying in bed because the harmful blue light that it emits can keep you awake.

Get Out and Socialize

If you are feeling lonely during the season, then the cure may be to get outside, meet up with friends, and do something you enjoy. When we spend time with people we love, it brings us pleasure and helps us to fight off the feelings of isolation. There are plenty of winter activities you can enjoy, from sledding to ice skating, that can help to shake off your anxiety. This is also an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new, like visiting a new nightclub or restaurant. You never know what adventures you will have and the fun people you’ll meet.

Embrace the Coziness

Yes, the colder winter months can leave us feeling a bit frigid, but instead of dwelling on what you cannot change, consider taking advantage of this time of year. This is a chance to turn on your fireplace or crank up the heater as you put on your fuzzy socks and sneak under your softest blanket. Then turn on a funny movie or your favorite book and enjoy the day.

Consider Therapy

If you try the tips above and you still are feeling depressed or upset, then you may want to consider speaking to a therapist. You don’t necessarily need to join an extensive counseling program, but some light therapy can help you to understand your feelings and find a way to feel better until spring comes along.

As you can see, there are many tactics that you can use to find joy even during the colder months of winter. Consider the tips mentioned here, and have a happy holiday season.
Written by Sam Bowman
Sam Bowman has a passion for health and wellness. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, tech, healthcare and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
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