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Overcoming Those Winter Blues

Winter days can seem endless, dark and dreary. There is thus a necessity to seek out activities, and institute changes, that can boost the spirits and get you through those winter blues. Below are a few suggested areas that may help in overcoming those winter blues and get you happily through the winter season.

Environmental Interventions

Adapt To A Changed Routine
It's not necessarily the weather itself that brings on the blues, but the fact that the weather can keep you indoors, says life coach Leslie Levine, MS, MBA. Instead of bemoaning cabin fever, focus on activities that lend themselves to being indoors - organizing your office, cleaning out your closets, inviting friends over for dinner.

If, on the other hand, you tend to favor more indoor pursuits anyway, change your routine and head outdoors." Too often people assume that they won't like a certain activity just because they 'never have, never will,'" says Levine. Break out of your comfort zone and try something new - cross-country skiing, perhaps, or a brisk walk with a friend.

Different scents can bring about different moods, Mok explains. Lemon grass and peppermint, for example, lift your spirit, while lavender and chamomile have a soothing effect. Use scented bath salts, bath oils, or candles, or apply oils directly to your pulse points. A diffuser is also a good way to fill your room with your chosen scent.
Light Therapy
If your winter blues seriously disrupt your life, you may actually be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The widely accepted treatment for SAD is exposure to bright light (light therapy or phototheraphy).

We usually can't get enough bright sunshine during the winter to make an adequate difference, especially on rainy days or in cold climates, says Michael E. Thase, MD, professor of psychiatry and medical director of the Mood Disorders Module at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and chief of the Division of Adult Academic Psychiatry and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh.

Portable desktop light boxes which can sit on your desk or in front of a TV or exercise bike, can provide adequate exposure if used for 30 to 60 minutes each morning.

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