Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » 6 Perk Up Tips to Survive the Peak of Winter Blues

6 Perk Up Tips to Survive the Peak of Winter Blues

February is, thankfully, almost over. This midpoint of winter disappointment marks the very innermost hell of hibernation, overeating, and total lack of physical activity that the winter brings.

If you live in a cold, frozen tundra (like I do), winter puts a serious drag on your normal day-to-day routine, particularly if the fairer months include eating fresh fruits and vegetables and getting exercise outside. Here are six ways to perk up your life in the peak of winter…


1. Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal depression, or SAD, occurs with the seasons. It occurs in a cyclical cycle, meaning it occurs at relatively the same time annually. For many, SAD tends to occur in the midst of winter (i.e., I’m looking at you February).

According to National Institute of Health data, roughly 6-percent of those in northern U.S. climates suffers from SAD—while approximately 14-percent of that same population experiences milder seasonal mood changes, or winter blues. Telltale symptoms of SAD include plummeting energy, weight gain, depression, and mood swings.


2. Try a Light Box

If you suffer from mild or severe winter blues, it’s prime time you learned about light boxes. These contraptions expose you to light (at 10-times the degree of household lighting) to reduce the symptoms of SAD.

A light box is meant to supplement actual daylight exposure when the days are longer and darker. You can set your light box to the desired (to emit anywhere between half an hour to 2-hours of happy light).


3. Get Outside

While you may supplement your normal light exposure with a light box or a vitamin D supplement—it’s still vital that you get outside as much as possible in winter. After all, vitamin D (aka: the sunshine vitamin) is most effectively absorbed via the skin.

Use this as an excuse to get out for some fresh air and sunlight. Go for a winter hike, ice-skating, snow shoeing, or make a rambunctious round of snow angels with a buddy. Daily aerobic exercise won’t only help you stay fit and energetic during winter—it will also lift your mental spirits (thanks to happy endorphins) as well.

sun 3

4. Stick to a Schedule

When it comes to work, sleep, exercise, and eating one thing is very important: doing these things on schedule. So do your best in winter to resist the urge to stay up too late or sleep in too long. The same goes for eating too much and eating healthy, balanced meals throughout the day.

Establishing and sticking to a regular schedule when it comes to sleep, physical activity, and eating will ensure your circadian rhythms stay balanced. Circadian rhythms are essentially your body’s internal clock. These 24-hour rhythms respond primarily to light and darkness (which is why regular sleep is essential) and affect you physically, mentally, and behaviorally.


5. Eat for Better Hormone Balance

In addition to your circadian rhythms, the hormone melatonin greatly impacts your need to sleep and hibernate during winter. It also affects your sleeping-waking schedule, your mood, your energy levels, and the risk of seasonal affective disorder.

Your body emits greater amounts of melatonin during the dark, cold months of winter, which explains your need to bundle up on the couch and not emerge until spring. According to research from the University of Texas, certain foods (i.e., almonds, walnuts, and lettuce) naturally promote sleep.


6. Walk and Greet the Morning

We already know that morning exercise can help boost your energy levels, mood, and metabolism for the day ahead. That’s why, even if you can’t get out for a run every day mid-winter—a morning walk will do the trick!

Lace up those snow boots for a hearty hour walk to greet to sun. Not only will the early morning rays help blast SAD symptoms (it really doesn’t matter if the sun is out or not). Remember, if you feel the affects of SAD, it will take roughly 3 days of sun exposure outside to reverse those winter blues.

sun 4


More on ActiveBeat
  • Telltale Traits of a Sociopath
    Sociopathy is a mental health condition that is believed to affect approximately 1 to 4 percent of adults, and is more common in women than in men, although some researchers argue...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Feeling the Comfort Food Crave?
    Have you ever wondered why, when the weather starts to dampen and a chill fills your bones why you crave starchy, heavy, fatty, surgery, cheesy, rich comfort foods as opposed to...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Tips for Preventing Holiday Burn Out
    Just like Santa’s sleigh, you can only take so many white Christmas pot lucks, and decking the halls soirees before you start to feel a tad burnt out.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 8 Ways to Beat the Cold Weather Blues
    I’ll be honest, weaning daylight, wind, rain, snowing and blowing does not make “lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you” or anyone, for that matter.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Reasons to Exercise That Have Nothing to Do with Weight Loss
    Following a long, cold winter weight loss is at the top of everyone’s mind. Even the dudes at my work have even been going for walks at lunch and opting for the stairs vs.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 9 Need to Know Facts about Common Psychotropic Medications
    A psychotropic medication is any medication that alters the chemicals in the brain and consequently impacts emotions and behaviors.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Symptoms and Causes of Schizophrenia
    According to WebMD, schizophrenia is “a serious brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Physical Symptoms of Mental Illnesses
    They say when the mind suffers the body cries out, and there's truth based in medical science.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Of The Most Unusual Phobias
    We all have our own fears and little quirks about things that make us uncomfortable. And for some of us, those fears develop into full on phobias.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Addicted to Shopping: 5 Things to Know About Compulsive Buying Disorder
    The term shopaholic is often used to playfully describe a friend that spends just a little too much time at the mall, but an addiction to shopping is a very real issue.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Simple Self-Care Tips to Boost Mood and Health
    It seems we all take the time to care for our children, pets, homes and also our vehicles, but many of us are forgetting to take care of ourselves.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Ways Friendship Improves Our Health
    Friendships are one of the most important facets of life. Friends can enhance and help us celebrate the best times—from weddings to graduations and new careers—as well as help...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Cognitive Behavioral Techniques to Help Reframe Your Thinking
    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often used by therapists to help people overcome their negative thinking patterns and replace them with healthier, more positive thoughts.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Facts on Mental Health Awareness for Mental Health Week
    This week, May 2 to 6, 2016, marks Mental Health Week in Canada. We use this week as a means to open the discussion surrounding mental health in our country and around the world.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Life Problems Losing Weight Will Never Fix
    I, like many people out there, used to tell myself that I’d be happier, more successful, more confident, and more in love…if I just lost weight.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice