You know the feeling: You’re more tired these days, maybe anxious or moody. Wintertime’s shorter daylight hours and chilly weather cause doldrums and it can feel harder to get out of bed. 11 million Americans have a form of winter depression — seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. But there are steps you can try to lift your spirits:
- Keep on the sunny side. Whether you have SAD or just feel blue during these darker months, step outside when you can—even if it’s cold or cloudy. Increase your indoor daylight with sheer curtains, and trim shrubs and trees so that they don’t block windows. Use artificial “sun box” lights with special fluorescent tubes that mimic the sun’s beneficial rays. These lights benefit those with intense SAD as well as anyone with regular winter doldrums.
- Make a move. Exercise can boost your mood, relieve depression, and decrease stress. Dress appropriately for cold-weather workouts—wear a hat, scarf, gloves, jacket, and layered clothing. Also, do indoor exercise at home like running in place and dancing with upbeat music.
- Stay in touch. Call family members and friends to set up plans, volunteer in your community, or join a social group.
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