Microblog on shaking off winter blues!
The winter blues seem to linger longer as the days get longer here in Boulder, CO. As the weather begins to brighten, I find myself wanting to go out more and dabble in and deepen relationships. As quickly as I do this, I still find myself trying to make excuses to stay inside and not engage. This cycle is pretty common with me. I like the isolating times that help me revitalize. Often, I need to remember basic movements that support my body in getting out and moving around. Now, I known it’s May, but we all know that here in Colorado, the weather is tricky and can often be misleading. It can be cold and frosty one day and sunny and bright the next. Hopefully winter is on its way out!
Here are a few tips to help you engage with life and get your duff off the couch (or out of the office chair) to shake off the winter blues. Remember, if you are just starting off, take it slow but make the effort continual. It might seem a bit daunting, but with small steps forward, you can make the seemingly monumental leap in no time.
Support yourself by going outside
An often overlooked aspect of aiding in shaking off the darkened days of winter blues here in Colorado is to simply go outside. Yes, I understand how simple it is, but when was the last time you did this? In Boulder, there are many, many outdoor adventures that await. Festivals are beginning to surface and First Friday’s seem to be in about every neighborhood. Just step out of your front door. You’ll find something. Usually what you’ll find is the sunlight. UV light is helpful at kicking the winter blues away.
Being able to simply see the sunlight has a monumental effect on your mental health. This has been proven to reduce anger. When you go out to meet the sun, the science says, Vitamin D fuels the body by providing much-needed calcium for your bones. There are probably many other benefits, but I’m a psychotherapist, so go ask your doctor.
Again, an easily over-looked aspect of the winter lingering around is the simple fact of eating. Do you ever notice that the heavier you eat (burgers, pizza, and so forth) that the heavier you feel? This is the time of the season where your body craves nutrients. As we come out of the winter cycle, we crave heartier foods. The right nutrients can help you focus and help you maintain proper activity all day long. One of the beautiful parts about living in Boulder, CO is the foodie vibe that runs throughout our city.
The proper food increases your alertness, memory, and mood. Some of my worst eating decisions come when I am hungry. Ironic, I know. My brain checks out and my body begins to feel depleted. In this moment, I usually choose something bad; like chocolate or delicious vegan cookies from Trader Joes. TIP: Keep a safe alternative food source in your bag or in your car. A handful of almonds or cashews will help you get to a safe choosing point.
After the grey of winter, it is usually pretty hard to get back outside, eat healthy, and remain active. This is when we are most susceptible to making excuses for not doing any combo above. Just remember, as important as it is to support yourself in going outside, it is equally important to support yourself in eating healthy and staying active. Do not think too much about this. Can you walk to work? Can you bike to work? When colleagues go out to smoke, can you walk around the block a few times to clear your head? Remember, most smokers go outside to vent frustrations. We can too. Just walk around and notice what is happening. Trees. Grass. Birds. Etc.
If you are just beginning to shake off the winter blues, begin slowly. Take a short walk with the dogs. Take the kids out. Walk around the block. Go talk to a neighbor. Plan an outing. Walk to a farmer’s market. Do something active that engages the frontal lobe. This will help you to begin to shake off the winter blues and learn new ways to incorporate activity. Remember, do this daily and you’ll be more inclined to keep the movement up.
Son. Husband. Father. Psychotherapist.