Tuesday, November 4, 2014

8 Practical Ways To Beat the Winter Blues


Winter is coming. Some people are stressing about the inevitable "winter blues". I hope this practical post gives you some ideas to implement into your winter agenda that will help beat the blues! Maybe this list is overwhelming? Try to implement one a week and see how much each one helps rather than trying to do it all at once.

#1 Clean. Sound weird? It's not. A messy house and clutter are linked to depression. The more you sit around in your mess the more likely you will feel the affects of it on your mood. GET UP and CLEAN UP! The cleaning will distract you and the finished product will be much more enjoyable to be in. Since we spend a lot more time inside during the winter doesn't it just make sense that the cleaner your surroundings the less likely you will feel down?

#2 Listen to Christian Music and Audio Bible. While you're cleaning (or doing anything really) be sure to listen to Christian music AND SING WITH IT. Nothing fixes the blues for me like singing to the King of kings! We are constantly thinking all day and singing forces our minds to think about something else. If you are singing worship music it takes your eyes off your self and onto Him and thinking about Him and praising Him is a natural anti-depressant."fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:2) Listening to the bible is also a great way to fix your eyes on Jesus and think about spiritual things rather than temporal things. 

#3 MOVE. Your body was made to move. Winter time can leave us wanting to hibernate and lay around all day. Not good for the blues. Your body releases natural "happy brain chemicals" called endorphins when you move. The less you move the worse you feel. I am only doing 30 min. a day 4-5 times a week and I see it make a tremendous difference. Look for some piece of simple exercise equipment (used!) and save up to get it and then most importantly use it. Maybe you already have a piece of equipment? Dust it off and use it! OR you can get different workout videos through your library for free to change it up a bit! Get the kids involved and have PE every day. They'll enjoy it too! And on the days when it's not raining, GET OUTSIDE. Being outside, even when it's overcast, is a great mood booster.

#4 Get enough rest. I take a nap about 5 times a week on top of going to bed around 11 and getting up at 7! This may seem excessive but I think it helps me greatly in fighting depression. I see a direct link between me being "overly emotional" and not getting enough sleep. There are so many things that tempt us these days to not get enough rest but by saying no to those (and yourself) you are doing yourself a big favor! 

#5 Take Care of Yourself! #3, #4 and #5 kind of go together. Part of taking care of yourself is getting enough rest and exercise. Another part to taking care of yourself is: Eating well, drinking well and supplementing well.

*First, eating well. To put it simply, I think the best way to eat is to refrain from too many carbs (especially simple carbs like white bread), eliminate as much sugar as possible and consume lots of vegetables. I do think that the Trim Healthy Mama diet is good not only for weight loss but for mood as well! One reason I think that it is good for our moods is because blood sugar is directly related to how we feel. People who eat lots of carbs/foods high on the glycemic index often ride a roller coaster of emotions as their blood sugar fluctuates through out the day. The Trim Healthy Mama diet really helps to keep your blood sugar levels consistent without that roller coaster effect.

*Drinking well. Believe it or not, getting enough water influences how you feel emotionally as well as physically! I try and keep my mason jars with ice and water full all day for me to sip on. Drink water. Also, you can try out a couple of my "energy drinks" and see if they help with your mood!

*Supplementing well. In addition to eating and drinking there are so many things you can supplement to your diet to help with your mood! There are many herbs, vitamins and minerals that are conveniently ready for us to consume to help us attain optimal health and mood! The basic ones that I take every day are: Emergen-C (which if you do subscribe and save is only 23 cents a day and I also split one package up between my four kiddos during the winter in their smoothies), Iron (again, I do the subscribe and save to save money) and vitamin d. These are the only three that I supplement with but they seem to work for me! I take 200% of my daily value of iron a day and 300% daily when I am struggling with postpartum depression. Keeping up your immunity is also a natural way to combat depression. In fact, the next time you are "feeling down" take note and see if you get a cold in the next day or two. When your immunity is down so is your mood. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

#6 Create a Schedule/Routine. This is especially applicable for stay at home moms. The more "out of sorts" you feel or the more chaos around you the more out of control you feel and the more out of control you feel the more your mood feels out of control. Create a daily routine and/or schedule and stick to it. Children thrive off of routine and so does your mood. When you lay around a lot because you "aren't sure what to do next" this may feed your feelings of hopelessness. Sit with your husband and kiddos and figure out a daily routine. This is also very important if you are like our family and limiting the television and electronic gadgets, you need to have a plan for what you are going to do with your day. Children need direction. The less direction they have the more likely they are to drive you and your mood crazy.

Here is a sneak peek into our family's daily routine.

#7 Think about others. One of the best ways to "get over yourself" is to think about others. Who do you know that is in the hospital? Who do you know that is struggling in their marriage? Who do you know that has children who have strayed from the Lord? Who do you know that is struggling financially? Pray for these people and write them a note. The act of praying and writing them will help you to focus on other people's problems rather than your own.

#8 The best way to beat the blues is to keep an eternal perspective.
No matter your mood, remind yourself that it's temporary. This life is but a blink of the eye compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.
"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.…" Col. 3:2-3 Always remember true happiness is found in Christ. Seek Him in the Word and set your mind on things above.