Tips for Winter Blues, Get winterized !

We know we have to winterize our houses, our cars, our lawns but what about ourselves. It seems just after the enjoyable fall comes the deep dark devastating winter. One by one, clients come into my office sharing their struggle with the winter cold and darkness. Many experience an uptick in depressive symptoms.
It is estimated that at least a half million Americans suffer from some amount of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is a depressive disorder caused by lack of sunlight. To read more on SAD check out www.Psychcentral.com .
Here are some tips for meeting the challenge of winter.
1. Attitude – The right attitude means understanding the natural flow of the seasons is a necessary part of the cycle of life. Focus your mind on the fact that this is temporary. A few months of time and that will, indeed, pass. You can do some reading on nature and what happens to animals and plant life in winter. This can give you a new appreciation and even a fascination with what happens in winter. Set your expectation for it to be cold out each morning. Then winter will meet your expectations.
2. Dress appropriately- This may seem trivial and obvious but I cannot tell you how many people I see weekly that are not wearing proper coats, no hat, no gloves or scarves. Dressing warm makes a world of different in your perception of the day. Think if you were to wear a hat and scarf in July. You may feel very irritable. It is very irritating and downright stressful to your nervous system not to dress warm in winter. It’s worth a try.
3. Get physical – This is very important. We plan all sort of summer activities. Ever think that’s another reason summer is so much better. We are social and engaged with others. We are productive doing some project on our lawns or garages. Plan activities for winter. It is especially important to be physical in some way. There are plenty of affordable gyms to go to and walk on the treadmill, take yoga or dance classes or try a winter sport such as skiing. The cold air is amazingly stimulating and enlivening. You can also use DVDs or an exercise video through your cable company or use a Wii system.
4. Sunlight – Darkness is one major depressing fact of winter. Therefore, it is important to get yourself outdoors in the light of day on weekends. This is something of an intervention you can do for yourself. You can also purchase a lightbox made specifically for this purpose. These can be purchased through Amazon.
5. Projects – winter is a great time to finally clean out the closet or the garage or paint the bedroom. It’s perfect for re-organizing all the things you don’t get to in summer.
6. Socializing – Get together with friends and play board games or watch football. Join a book club. Play Wii together.