The Best Ways To Fight Winter Sluggishness

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A cold snap has gripped much of the US. Great news for snow cooking aficionados… Not so great for those of us already tired of short days and long nights. Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep your mood pumped through the chilly months!

Walk the walk
It might be hard to get motivated, but even a little exercise can help get your energy level up. “The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong,” says Dr. Michael Otto, psychology professor at Boston University, “Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.” You could even try a winter sport like skiing, ice skating, or bobsledding (if you’re feeling fearless).

Get all the sun you can
Research has shown that light can improve your mood and ward off daytime sleepiness. Maximize your UV intake with a brisk walk in the midday sun. If the cold is too much for you, don’t worry – there’s some evidence that indirect light from windows may help.

Snack savvily
Load up on foods that can help fend off fatigue: fruits and vegetables, unrefined carbs, and plenty of water! Be sure that you’re getting enough iron, too. If in doubt, apricots and spinach may help.

Protect the Zs
For most people, good sleep requires good sleep hygiene. According to the experts, that means ensuring your room is quiet and dark, avoiding reading or watching movies in bed, and keeping as regular a schedule as possible. (Certain foods, like cherries, may help with falling asleep, too!)

Everyone gets the blahs now and than, but SAD (a type of seasonal depression) is different. If you think you may have SAD, please talk to a psychiatrist.

Image: Saima sunning, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from cats marcoff’s photostream.

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