Getting through Winter
Some people love winter and snow and layers, but most of us struggle with the colder weather and darker days at some point before spring arrives. If you find yourself longing for summer days and fighting the winter blues, there are, fortunately, a variety of things you can do to support your mental, physical and emotional health.
Physician Assistant Allie Nowak offers some seasonal tips for surviving the last month of winter:
- Get outside – as long as the weather and your outerwear allow it! Fresh air and sunshine really do have the ability to boost your energy and mood. When you spend some time outside, whether taking a walk, snowshoeing or cooking on the grill, you will feel like you are conquering winter – and not the other way around.
- Take your vitamin D. If you’re wintering in Minnesota, you should seek a vitamin D supplement between 2,000-4,000 IUs per day, which can help you achieve the optimal vitamin D blood level of 35-60. Vitamin D is critical for a healthy immune system and optimal levels have even shown to help with anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder. Most of us are aware of its important role in maintaining bone mineral density, but it can be an important method to boost mood and immunity during the winter months.
- Stay socially connected. Spending time with family and friends and scheduling regular meet-ups can give you something to look forward to and help thwart the winter blues.
- Move! Not to another state – rather, exercise naturally boosts endorphins and makes us feel good.
- Take a trip. Even if you can’t travel to the Caribbean, you might be able to visit the Como Zoo Conservatory (a warm, lush place on a cold day), check out a fun exhibit at a local museum or try a new restaurant in an out-of-the-way neighborhood.
“Even for those of us who like winter, the season can take its toll by this time of year. Make sure you find something every day that brightens your mood, which can be as simple as a snuggle with your favorite pet, a great cup of hot tea or a new winter event,” Nowak added.