Shoveling snow, scraping windshields and running from the car to the office burns calories, but after a while we give up and yearn for spring. This long, dark season not only causes frustration and hibernation – some 15 million people are affected by the depressive condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Fortunately, there are effective strategies to help combat the winter blues. Be prepared for the winter months to come with a few of these tips.
Get Moving for a Mood Boost
On below zero days, a couch, blanket and cranked thermostat are much more enticing than venturing outside to hit the gym. But here is the deal: exercise can help banish your winter blues and should not be skipped. Whether you grab a basketball, a dumbbell or a yoga mat, a good sweat session releases feel-good brain chemical that reduce depression and improves your mood. Plus, your metabolism and energy level will both stay elevated for a few hours after your workout. Brave the cold and move. It will be worth it.
Embrace the Season
Sure, winter can be a downer, but the snow also provides the opportunity for activity. Make the best out of a steady snow fall by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Even winter tasks have benefits. Snow shoveling might be a chore, but it is also a strenuous workout and can burn more than 400 calories an hour.
Soak in the Sun
Winter days are cold, long and dark. This ultimately means a lack of a particularly important ingredient to wintertime happiness: sunlight. Time spent in the sun helps your body process Vitamin D and releases neurotransmitters that can boost your mood. Add a few extra outdoor activities to your week like a walk around the neighborhood. As for your home – keep your shades up during the day or use “full spectrum” light bulbs to replicate natural light indoors.
Endless winter days are no fun. Everyone is happier when they are looking forward to an exciting event on the horizon. Plan a guy or girls’ night out, a weekend getaway or a ski trip. If you want to indulge on your own, a massage has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase serotonin and dopamine, which are depression-fighting chemicals. Laugh, relax or escape to keep the winter blues away.
When cold weather hits, “the parts that get really tight are the ankles—because we’re stuck in boots all day — and the feet, neck, and shoulders”. You are probably (painfully) aware of, when we are experiencing tension in our bodies, our energy takes a nosedive. The good news is that some simple stretches can make a big impact. Try these
Connecticut Chiropractic, LLC approved movements throughout the day:
For the feet: Lie down (or sit on a chair) and do simple ankle circles; roll a ball (a tennis ball or even a bouncy ball will do) under your feet; perform calf stretches.
For the neck: Do small, gentle circles with your head, moving in a figure-eight pattern, as you breathe deeply and try not to shift in your torso; then move one ear toward one shoulder and repeat with your opposite ear/shoulder.
For the shoulders: Place your right palm against a wall with your arm extended, allowing your left arm to relax at your side, and turn your chest and head to the left. Hold the stretch, allowing your pectoral muscles to release. Repeat on your opposite side.
We are always here at Connecticut Chiropractic, LLC to help you through these winter months. Give us a call today to schedule at 860-659-9969