Beat the winter blues

Kathleen Keaveny

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Daylight savings has recently rolled around and with it, shorter, darker days, a chillier climate and, for many, the winter blues are beginning to set it. Certain people are more emotionally affected by the gloomy, cold weather that comes along with a change in seasons than others, but just about everyone has experienced a case of the winter blues. Many experience fatigue, lack of motivation, frustration, weight gain and more, but there are a few lifestyle changes that you can make to help battle these symptoms. Everyone is affected differently, but working toward a balanced, healthy lifestyle can ease some of the irritability and depression caused by a change in seasons.

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Exercise

Some people love it, a lot of people hate it, but it is necessary in order to stay healthy and balanced. It is important to make exercise a part of your routine for a variety of reasons. Exercise gives you more energy, which is especially important in winter when people feel more fatigued and days are shorter. Exercise also aids in stimulating brain chemicals, such as endorphins, that boost your mood. You don’t have to run a half marathon daily or bench press 400 pounds, but fitting even light exercise into your routine is key. You could go on a 20-minute walk, go sledding if there is snow or join an IM team with some friends. The CSU Recreation Center offers free work out classes such as Zumba, beginners yoga, ABSolution and Interval Burns that are fun.

Eating Healthy

How does a spinach salad sound on a cold fall day? Pretty terrible. Eating healthy is essential to having a good mood and staying balanced. You don’t have to eat like a rabbit to stay healthy, but focusing on eating whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy products can combat depression. Processed and sugary foods do just the opposite. They don’t give you long lasting energy and are a cause of weight gain. Taking good care of your body helps you take care of your mind.

Getting enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial to maintaining energy and a good mood, but you also want to be careful not to get too much sleep. Stress keeps the mind awake, making it difficult to fall asleep, but exercising and eating healthy can produce better sleeping habits. See how things are starting to connect? Burning out just brings on more fatigue, lack of motivation and irritability. On the other hand, getting too much sleep is detrimental as well. Grogginess, lack of focus and being prone to developing diseases like diabetes and heart disease are linked to too much sleep. A good seven to nine hours of sleep each night is ideal for most adults.

Stay focused

Choosing a goal or activity to stay focused on during the winter months, like school work, a creative project or volunteering may help. Keeping your mind busy and motivated helps to keep you on track and can sometimes ease negative thoughts. Be careful, being too busy can overwhelm and stress you out, resulting in the negative effects you were trying to combat in the first place. Everyone is different, but choosing goals to work towards, that are possible to accomplish, can be beneficial.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

It is not realistic to have perfect habits, so, if you skip a few days of working out or eat a candy bar, it’s okay. No one is perfect. Don’t be hard on yourself, that only creates more negative thoughts.

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Collegian Interactive News Team member Kathleen Keaveny can be reached at socialmedia@collegian.com or on Twitter @katkeaveny.