Wayne County has been visited by some harsh winter already, with a few more weeks to go before we can enjoy Spring again. This time of year can be challenging to many people, with some struggling more than others. We want to help you get over that hump….so the following are tips on beating the winter blues. (be sure to read to the end for local ideas for “warming” you spirits).
(excerpted from Real Simple)
If you’re starting to feel like nothing but a very full, very strong pot of coffee will get you out of bed, join the club. Holiday bills are high, temperatures are low, and the days are way too short. The following are scientifically proven ways to lift your spirits and ease the mid-winter doldrums.
1. Make your environment brighter.
When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine.
2. Eat smarter.
Certain foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy and carbohydrates provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression. (veggies, fresh fruits and good carbs are important for staying healthy and happy(.
3. Simulate dawn.
People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that usually begins in late fall or early winter and fades as the weather improves, may feel depressed, irritable, lethargic, and have trouble waking up in the morning—especially when it’s still dark out. Studies show that a dawn simulator, a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed.
A 2005 study from Harvard University suggests walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression: A preliminary study found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, depressive symptoms, and vitality, while exercise in ordinary light improved vitality only. Try these mood boosting workouts.
5. Turn on the tunes.
In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.
6. Plan a vacation.
Longing for sunnier days at the beach? Research shows that the simple act of planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness.
7. Help others.
Ladling out soup at the local shelter or volunteering your time can improve mental health and life satisfaction.
8. Get outside.
Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big: Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels.
In addition to these great tips, another way to perk up an otherwise slow winter is to shop locally! Yes, by shopping at unique family owned and operated business in Wayne County, you can stimulate the local economy, and support local businesses where the money stays in the community.
Enjoy experiences like tea at the Tin Cup or learn to knit at Ply Fiber Arts, in downtown Richmond, and shop at one of the many boutiques and pubs in downtown Richmond and the Depot. Head over to Two Sister Books and visit the Harry Potter room, or take a short jaunt to Hagerstown and see how candy is made at Abbott’s Candy. (remember ….chocolate is a mood lifter too).
Another idea is to utilize the free library programs in Wayne County. We have the most excellent programming all over the county for kids and adults with mostly free activities offered all through winter. Check out your local library Facebook page for upcoming events!
So many fun ways to get out and about in Wayne County and lift your mood through the winter, while staying warm!
And…check out our calendar at GoWayneCounty.com for fun ideas for the whole family to enjoy!
Karole Passmore is a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles and short stories, interviewing local people, and researching non-fiction subject matter– preferably historical. Graduate of RHS, Ivy Tech Richmond, and Earlham College– with a major in History, Karole has spent most of her life in Wayne County and enjoys the quaint atmosphere of a small town.
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