5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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Winter has officially arrived at the "ugh" stage. It's cold. It's been cold for a long time now. Unless you live somewhere truly wonderful, it's not going to get warm again for awhile yet.

Given the opportunity, I think most of us would like to cuddle up by a fire and wake up when it’s spring.

But you can beat the winter blues -- I promise. As the temperatures and your motivation continues to stay at a truly depressing low, use these five tips for giving yourself the motivation you need.

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

1. Get moving.

You made the New Year’s resolution to actually use that gym membership you’ve been paying for; now is the perfect time to start. Already a regular gym goer? Sign up for a race or other challenge that will push you. Beyond the physical benefits of getting some exercise, multiple studies have been conducted to show the link between working out and mental health. According to a report from Harvard Medical School, researchers found that “walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms.”

2. Make (and keep) plans.

The easiest thing in wintertime is to want to pull the covers over your head and wait for the day to be over. However, it’s just a matter of time before the walls start to close in on you. Whether you agree to meet a friend for coffee, accept the invitation from your neighbor to go over for dinner or take the kids to the library, do something. Getting out of the house and being around others can help boost your mood.

3. Get outside.

Even when it’s below freezing, bundle up and go for a brisk walk. Vitamin D from the sun is a surefire way to make you feel better. If there’s no sun, filling your lungs with fresh air will help refresh you. As you go on your walk, repeat after me: “We’re one day closer to spring.” Make that your mantra as everyone else complains about the weather.

4. Laughter is the best medicine, especially for beating the winter blues.

Host a game night with some of your friends, watch a slapstick comedy or get tickets to that comedy club you’re always driving past and have never been to. A study conducted at Loma Linda University found that, “humor, with its associated mirthful laughter, can reduce stress and cortisol, a stress hormone.” Here’s a staggering statistic for you: the average child laughs 300-500 times a day, while the average adult is only letting go about 15 times a day. Time to find your inner 4-year-old!

5. Acknowledge it.

Every once in a while, it’s okay to put your pajamas on before dinner, curl up on the couch and only get up for a refill. But if you can’t shake the feeling that your soul is as icy as your windshield, ask for help. Try a therapy lamp, or find a free, licensed counselor on Military OneSource. Acknowledging your blues and getting help is an important step in conquering them.

Sometimes we all need a little extra love to beat the winter blues. Whether you laugh them off, run away from them on the treadmill or meet them head-on outside, this year acknowledge them sooner to beat them faster. And remember, we’re one day closer to spring.

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