Coping with the dark days of winter | Column

Do the chilly, gloomy, grey, dark days of winter make you want to curl up under the covers and stay there until spring again? You are not alone! All mammals naturally want to hide from the cold and dark, but unfortunately for us human beings that isn’t an option. To survive we need to stay active in our busy lives, despite the weather or change of season. But during these hard winter months, many of us struggle emotionally and physically.

Here are some tips to help you get through the next months of Seattle “dark and grey.”

Keep moving: Exercise is key! Go for a quick walk, try lap swimming, or even yoga.

Consider a vitamin D supplement: Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which helps us concentrate and boosts mood. Talk with your primary care doctor about whether you would benefit from a vitamin D supplement.

Eat a healthy diet: Whole grains can boost your energy levels. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors to help with overall wellness.

Light therapy: Try getting outside during daytime hours as much as you can, even if only in five- or 10-minute increments. If indoors, keep your blinds open, sit closer to windows, and even try using phototherapy.

Stimulate your senses: Think about touch, smell, taste, vision and sounds that are soothing. For example, aromatherapy with peppermint can help energize you and lavender can be calming. Try putting up pictures, drinking warm tea, or even snuggling with your favorite blanket and a good book.

Adjust your perspective: Train your brain to think more positive thoughts about the winter months.

Melissa Baker is a behavioral health consultant at HealthPoint in Bothell. Visit www.healthpointchc.org.


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