Wintertime in New York is a mixed bag of tricks. While window displays, tree lighting, festive decorations, and general holiday vibes are meant to lift our spirits, the cold weather, flu bugs, and absence of sun can bring about some serious winter blues. When February rolls around we haven’t had a sunny day above freezing since Thanksgiving, it’s important to employ a few tips to keep your mood elevated until spring peaks through. Physio Logic Chiropractor, Dr. Michael Vanchieri, DC, provides 5 ways to beat the Winter Blues below.
1. Be Social
A common theme of this article is going to be encouraging you to continue to do what humans are meant to do—that’s right, socialize. In the summer time, there are barbecues, beach days, and evening walks with loved-ones. We are social creatures by nature, but the cold can act as a pretty strong social barrier. Once the holidays pass, we have a tendency to spend more time alone than at any other point in the year. Even you introverts need some human interaction outside of the work space every once in a while.
2. Stay Active
Again, as nice as another episode of The Office with another cup of peppermint tea sounds, humans are meant to move so if you want to beat the winter blues, do something. Whether it’s lifting weights at the gym (I suggest you start now, not January 1st), or joining a yoga studio, physical activity is paramount to the mood regulating hormones that we need to feel satisfied. Is it too cold to snag a runner’s high? This is New York! Take a look around, there are plenty of runners getting after it bundled up but comfortably warm.
3. Find an Outdoor Winter Hobby
Speaking of running outside, find something to do that forces you outdoors. Scandinavian countries are known for being some of the happiest and healthiest in the world despite some of the most brutal winters out there. Research shows that they get outside. While the opportunity to snow-shoe doesn’t immediately present itself in Brooklyn (barring a snow storm), take weekend trips for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, or if you’re daring, surfing.
4. Eat Well
Believe it or not, your mood depends greatly on how you eat. We know this by the way that comfort foods can potentially cheer us up. However, you don’t get something for nothing because highly-palatable, highly processed foods tend to really depress your mood long term. Besides the dreaded insulin spike and crash that accompanies traditionally unhealthy food, the same thing happens with mood hormones like dopamine, causing you to reach for another cookie to stay up! Eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods will ensure hormonal stability and keep your immune system, metabolism, and brain healthy.
5. Increase Your Sleep
As sunlight dwindles, so should your hours spent awake. We can thank Thomas Edison and his invention of the light bulb for our Winter Blues. Your brain uses natural lightness and darkness cycles to regulate your mood, your energy, and your urge to sleep. Despite living in the city that never sleeps, you absolutely have to, and more so in the winter. Staying awake for long hours in the dark is not only going to make your eyes look baggy, but confuse your brain and body enough to really wreak havoc on your happiness.
Follow those tips to beat the winter blues and have your most enjoyable winter yet. Despite the invisible barrier of the cold winter, do as humans were intended to do, and you’ll stay happy, healthy, and satisfied! If you’re interested in learning more about maintaining your health and wellness, contact us.