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Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Ten Cool Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

1. Exercise
It’s not only great for relieving the stresses of life but the effects of a good workout can last for several hours giving you energy throughout the day. Your metabolism will stay elevated and those “feel good chemicals” that are released will improve your mood.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet
What and when you eat has a great affect on your mood and energy. Avoid refined and processed foods that are not only devoid of the nutrients your body craves, but they zap your energy levels and can affect your mood—causing depression, lack of concentration, and mood swings. Incorporate more complex carbohydrates and drink plenty of water. These healthy foods provide your body (and mind) with nutrients, and stabilize your blood sugar and your energy levels.

3. Get Some Sun
Sunlight not only provides us with Vitamin D but also improves your mood. Similar to exercise, sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. You can also change some light bulbs in your house to “full spectrum” bulbs. They mimic natural light and have the same affects on your mind as the real thing.

4. Act on your Resolutions
A recent study from the CDC showed a strong link between healthy behaviors and depression. Women who exhibited healthy behaviors had less sad and depressed days. Although researchers studied women, the results are likely similar in men.

5. Avoid Binge Drinking
Alcohol is actually a depressant, and rather than improving your mood, it only makes it worse. The morning after a binge of drinking will have you feeling sick, depressed, and even more tired, which will make your low energy and bad mood even worse.

6. Treat Yourself
Plan something that’s exciting to you. Having something to look forward to can improve your mood when you’re anticipating it and when the event actually comes.

7. Relax!
Everyone needs some time off. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to extra opportunities. Try to spend a few minutes each day doing nothing! Read a book or magazine, sleep in on the weekend, go to bed early, try some meditations, or take a yoga class. Relaxation, especially in the form of yoga, can alleviate stress and leave you with a calm energy. Even mental exercises like meditation and positive thinking can help keep depression at bay.

8. Embrace the Season
Instead of always avoiding the cold and the snow—look for the best that it has to offer! Take up a winter sport and enjoy these opportunities while they last. Staying active will boost your energy.

9. Get Social Support
Who can you turn to when you’re down and need a pick-me-up? Don’t underestimate the power of friends, family, mentors, co-workers, and neighbors to ask for help or encouragement when you need it. A phone call, a chat over coffee, or a nice email or letter can brighten your mood.

10. Catch Some Zzzz’s
Aim to sleep seven to eight hours each night, and try to keep your bedtime and waking time consistent, keeping sleeping patterns can normal and you’ll have more energy. Oversleeping on the weekend can actually make you more tired. Don’t forget naps! A short (ten to thirty minute) afternoon nap may be all you need to re-energize midday.

This is from a posting on divine caroline written by Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor and Health Educator

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