Chasing Away Old Man Winter

January, this first month of the new year, always starts off with great hope and promise. Often, however, those feelings of optimism and expectation sour as the weather turns colder and the sun remains behind dark clouds for weeks on end.

The winter months can quickly become times of isolation and our realities devolve into gloominess. It certainly can affect our outlook on life in general. Scientists call it Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), and we casually refer to this mindset as the Winter Blues. Even the reality of facing the difficulty of sticking to (or already failing at) our new year’s resolutions can give a negative spin to our mood.

Sadly (pun intended), many people become victims to the winter blues and it can happen so gradually that people often don’t realize what’s happening in their personal world until life seems suddenly “all wrong.”

The good news is that there are simple fixes to transform you back into a happy, productive individual. You might try one or two, or several, of these simple mood elevators to get you back on track with your life. All are helpful in one way or another, and to use an old pharmacy term, “Apply as needed.”

Lighten Up!

1) Experience more natural light. This time of the year, we tend to stay indoors where it is warm, but that usually isolates us and keeps us more in the dark. Put on a coat and take a walk. Get out of the house for a short stroll in your neighborhood or in a park. Even lightening up your home by opening the window coverings for an hour a day can help.

2) Some people add a bit more color to their indoor surroundings during this time of the year and many say that helps brighten their moods as well.

3) Scientists tell us that we can revitalize our outlook on life by simply changing the background on our computers to a beach photo or some other happy, expansive scene.

Take Action!

1) Taking a moment to better organize our lives helps brighten the moods of many. It defines expectations and creates a better focus on free time. Clean out some clutter around the house that you’ve been ignoring (or have been stepping over repeatedly) or do some other task that you’ve been putting off.

2) Arrange a to-do list in a realistic, actionable fashion and check off the items when completed. You’ll love the feeling of accomplishment every time you finish one of those chores.

3) Start a new hobby—something you’ve always wanted to do but never found the time for.

Feel the Burn!

Stay active and increase exercise, or start a new exercise regimen (even if you start with just a few minutes a day). The physical and psychological lift will amaze you.

Fuel Your Mood!

1) Increase your intake of seasonal produce. Studies show that the more fruits and vegetables people consume, the happier they become.

2) Eat a cup of Greek yogurt. Probiotic foods are shown to lift your mood.

3) Eat some dark chocolate. Scientists indicate that even one ounce can make you feel calmer and more content.

4) Consider chamomile tea to not only warm your tummy but also to warm your mood. A University of Pennsylvania study found that chamomile significantly eased symptoms of anxiety.

Become a Groupie!

1) Socialize more and surround yourself with friends and family. Seeking out human interaction is a natural mood elevator and minimizes the negative components in your life.

2) Stay positive by surrounding yourself with positive, energetic people.

Give Back!

1) Help others by doing some volunteer work. Philanthropic work is a well-documented mood enhancer.

2) Write a thank you note to someone who has been nice to you or has done you a favor. It will have a double impact by making you feel good about yourself as well as brighten the mood of the person on the receiving end of your appreciation.


Get Professional Help!

When all else fails, seek professional help. For more serious depression, there may be an underlying cause that requires professional guidance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your life may depend on it.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in A World of Possibility, About James J. Murray, Achieving Perfection, Being Thankful Every Day, Being Thankful For Your Life, Blog Writers, Blogging, Change in the New Year, Changing Your Life in The New Year, Creating Change in the New Year, Creating New Habits in The New Year, Developing Better Life Skills, Failed New Year’s Resolutions, Forging a Better Life, How To Be A Happier Person, How To Become More Optimistic, How To Change Bad Habits, How to Create a Better Life, How to Create a More Enjoyable Life, How to Create a More Productive Life, How to Create a More Satisfying Life, How To Have A Better Winter, How to Implement New Year's Resolutions, Ideas for Creating Permanent Change, James J. Murray Blog, Life Skills, Life-Altering Goals, Making Change Permanent, Meaningful Change in The New Year, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, New Blog, New Life Goals, New Year's Resolutions, Prescription For Murder Blog, SAD, Seasonal Affected Disorder, Skills to Create a Better Life, The Writings of James J. Murray, Winter Blues and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Chasing Away Old Man Winter

  1. Great advice. I have always been amazed by SADS. It’s frightening how the weather can really affect us.

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