How to Beat the Winter Blues

There is no season harder on our bodies and minds than winter. More people die from heart failure, suffer from seasonal depression and experience aches, pains and sickness in winter than at any other time of the year.

Why is this?

Well, it has to do with a combination of factors: colder temperatures, more time spent indoors, inactivity and lack of vitamin D all contribute to the general feeling of doom and gloom we tend to experience when the weather gets bad.

Unfortunately, unless you live in a climate consistently warmer and sunnier than that of the Pacific Northwest, you are probably out of luck if you hope to avoid colder weather. It’s winter. It happens!

So, the real question becomes: what can you do about it?

  1. Get a flu shot to avoid getting sick, and take a daily multivitamin that includes vitamin D. You may even choose to add an additional vitamin D supplement to your regular vitamin regime.
  2. If you experience day-to-day sluggishness through winter, try taking a walk outside each morning or exercise first thing. This will help brighten your days, figuratively and literally. However, if you feel that your winter blues have escalated to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) talk to your doctor immediately. Seek professional treatment. Remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel – Spring!
  3. Achey muscles and joints are another symptom of how winter weather affects our bodies. Possibly culprits include changes in barometric pressure, humidity and temperature. Let your body adjust, use heating pads to calm your muscles, take over-the-counter pain medications within reason and take up yoga! Stretching can really make a difference.
  4. Use lotion if you feel your body is being stripped of its natural oils by the wear and tear of winter weather.

Best of luck to you! And remember, spring is just around the corner.

 

Originally published for Better Health Washington.