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6 Ways to Beat the Blues This Winter

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JLP Staff

Fitness / / December 01, 2017

The change from fall to winter can be hard on your mind, body, and spirit. The days become shorter and darker, and sometimes the sun can stay hidden for weeks at a time.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a seasonal mood disorder that can be triggered by the darker days and colder weather of winter. SAD can affect your mood, your sleeping habits, your diet, and make it harder to stay social and engaged.

Up to 6% of the population suffers from SAD, and as many as 20% of people experience at least mild symptoms of SAD once the days get colder and darker.

If you find yourself struggling with a bout of winter blues every year, you may find it harder to stay social and engaged once the snow starts to fall and the temperature drops.

But preparing for the season ahead can make it easier to find ways to cope and enjoy the season ahead. And getting moving is one of the most powerful ways to keep the winter blues away.

From taking time to play outside to staying active when you’re stuck at home, here’s how you can stay active and beat the blues this winter.

 

1. Play in the Snow

There’s something about freshly fallen snow that brings out the kid in all of us.

Playing, even as an adult, is essential to good health. Playing outside with your kids or pets can help promote creativity, relieve stress, and improve your mood.

If you’re not a big skier, many winter resorts have tubing tracks or sledding hills so you and your family can still enjoy the rush of flying down the hill.

And if you walk up the hill instead of using the lift, you’ll burn calories and raise those mood-boosting endorphins.

Plus, the ride down the hill on your tube or toboggan will be even more thrilling if you’ve earned it!

 

2. Stuck at Home? Try Yoga

Yoga is nurturing experience for more than just your strength, flexibility and immune system. Yoga has been proven to improve your emotions and focus, too.

The western style of yoga often focuses on the poses of the practice, called the “asanas.” But traditional yoga includes breathing techniques, body cleansing, and meditation.

Meditation helps regulate your moods, reduce anxiety, and even have age-defying effects on your brain.

If the weather keeps you cooped up at home, you can practice yoga at your house for a relaxing break. And whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, yoga apps like Pocket Yoga and Yoga Studio can help guide your practice at home.

 

3. Hit the Gym

Icy roads (and a lack of motivation to leave the covers) can make it hard to stick to your gym routine in the winter.

Consider getting a gym membership near your house so icy roads will pose less of a challenge. Or if a friend or colleague already has a gym membership, joining their gym can help you carpool to your workouts together.

A workout buddy is a great way to stay social, and serves as a support system for getting out of the house when you just want to hide under the blankets.

A fitness goal can also help you stay active when the winter blues threaten to keep you cooped up on the couch. If you’re feeling burnt out on your typical routine, try a new fitness class like yoga, Pilates, Zumba, or a strengthening class to keep you engaged.

Or kick your routine up a notch by hiring a personal trainer to guide you toward your winter fitness goals.

Discover more benefits of physical activity for your emotional and mental health >

 

4. Spend Time with Furry Friends

Dog parks are a great place for you and your four-legged family member to get out of the house and get your heart rate up.

Beyond taking your dog on a walk, a dog park can offer you and your pet with some much-needed socialization.

And staying social is a mood-lifter for you and your pet, especially after being cooped up by a winter storm. Find a dog park near you >

 

5. Love Hiking? Say Hello to Snowshoeing

If you normally enjoy hiking in the summer, you don’t have to abandon the outdoor exploration once the snow falls. Instead, head out into the snow with a new pair of snowshoes.

Snowshoeing allows you to get outside and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the season.

Snowshoeing is also a great way to burn calories fast — you can burn up to 45% more calories than running or walking at the same pace.

6. Don’t Forget to Stay Social

Although you may love taking walks with friends or meeting up for brunch in the spring and summer, the change of seasons may make you choose the couch or stay in bed instead.

But staying social is critical to staying happy and healthy.

Socializing helps stimulate brain activity, improve your immune system, and could even help slow dementia in seniors.

But more importantly, staying in touch with friends and family helps you feel loved and connected. This comfort can help you keep moving forward on the days when the winter blues rear their head.

The cold and dark days of winter can be hard on your emotional well-being. But setting up a plan to cope when seasonal depression starts to set in can help you find ways to enjoy the season.

Looking for more ways to stay upbeat this winter? From a healthy diet to reading, here’s more of our favorite natural mood-boosting remedies >

Categories: Fitness
About The Author
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Joan Lunden’s in-house research and writing team works with Joan to create content that complements her focuses and the interests of her fans. The team is dedicated to creating a thriving community through content and conversations, and hopes their work, like Joan’s, can make a difference in the lives of her readers everywhere.

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