Vacation is over, and we are all feeling the drag of winter. Snow, cold, darkness – spring feels very far away. At this time of year, even the healthiest people can get an inkling of what it feels like to be depressed. If you are finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, or are too tired to go to the gym, you are not alone. A few things you can do to combat the winter blues: 1. Call a friend. Social support is too often underestimated as a mood changer, and even just 10 minutes of commiserating can go a long way toward improving your mood. If you’re not sure how to fit it into your schedule, try putting a headset on and calling someone “just to say hi” while you do the dishes or clean up around your home. 2. Turn on some music and dance. 3. Cook for a friend. The rhythms of chopping and cooking, and the smells of comforting foods like soup are great mindfulness exercises. If you share with someone you also get the added boost of social connection. 4. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier. Seems counter-intuitive, but the reality is that those extra few minutes you steal in bed before getting up are probably making your whole morning more stressful and hectic, setting the wrong tone for the day. 5. Add some lights. If you struggle with seasonal depression, talk to your psychologist or doctor about adding artificial sunlight to your regimen. There are several companies that sell sun lamps on line, such as sunbox.com. Look for something that provides 10,000 LUX of light. Winter will end eventually. In the meantime, a little extra work can go a long way toward improving your mood.
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