It’s springtime once again – a welcome change from the previous cold winter months that probably got a few of us down with the “winter blues.”
But is there really such a thing as “winter blues?”
The short answer is YES.
The long answer is this: science actually supports that we are more likely to feel down during the cooler months, and we will tell you why exactly.
Kathyrn Roecklein, associate professor in the Psychology department of University of Pittsburgh, says that researchers credit many biological and physiological reasons why our moods change along with the season.
One great factor behind these mood swings is light.
Roecklein adds, “Science shows that the length of day, longest in summer, and shortest in winter, is the main variable that affects our mood.”
With less light during the day, it disrupts our internal clock, or circadian rhythm, responsible for telling us when to feel sleepy and when to wake up. It is also responsible for regulating temperature, metabolism, hormones, and mood.
So, if you were feeling a little blue during the winter that passed, it’s actually your body’s response to changing levels of light and not something you can overcome with iron will alone.
Here are 4 things you can do to make the best out of the changing seasons the next time fall or winter comes around:
1. Let the sun in
Not getting enough light contributes to a poor mood. Doing simple things like opening your window blinds or taking a walk outside under the morning sun can significantly improve your spirits throughout the day.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Simple sugars and carbs can elevate your blood sugar levels and then land in a crash, your mood going down with it. Instead of reaching for a cup hot chocolate during the winter months, albeit notoriously tempting, try to eat more fruits, vegetables, proteins, complex carbohydrates, and omega-3-rich foods to keep your mood and energy levels up. Drinking plenty of water helps too.
3. Get social
Spend time to get social with your bestie and do fun things together to keep your mood positive during the dreary days of the cooler months. Go on a coffee date, get a mani-pedi together, or watch Netflix at home snuggled up in your furry sweaters. It’s also a great way to manage stress and improve your overall well-being.
4. Work out
Exercise is a great mood lifter and stress reliever. Roecklein says that there is a wealth of research supporting the fact that exercise helps manage symptoms of depression.
Read the full article by Huffington Post here for more information on coping with the changing seasons.