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Beating those winter blues

Let’s be honest – this time of year can be a challenge to cheerfulness.

Maybe it’s just me, but with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day in the rear view and a long month stretching out between now and Valentine’s Day, it can sometimes feel like there’s little to be happy about. When the cold gray days drag on and the rain steals the sunshine over and over, winter feels like it’s never going to end.

While seasonal affective disorder is a very specific malady, a form of depression that – according to various online sources – affects a relatively small percentage people, I think plenty of us can fall prey to the “winter blues.” It’s that general blah feeling, when you just want shrink back into your couch cushions, wrap up in a quilt and close your eyes tightly until late March.

Unfortunately, few of us have the luxury of a self-imposed hibernation. That’s why it’s crucial to find ways to beat the winter blues and embrace this season.

I’m no expert – just a 29-year-old community journalist – but here are a few things I think we can do to keep our spirits up until springtime rolls around.

  1. Get together with a friend. During the holiday season life can get so busy with organized gatherings, from family celebrations to work parties, and it can be hard to make time for a simple catch up with a close friend. As December fades into January, it’s tempting to rush straight home from work, ladle up a bowl of chili and cozy up to some Netflix until it’s reasonable to climb in bed sleep away one more winter night. But ignore that urge to hibernate and meet a friend for coffee at The Grind or Java & jazz or maybe a milkshake at Frosty Inn. Share a few laughs or a little encouragement, and you’ll both feel more able to take on the next dreary day.
  2. Get outside. So, a winter walk isn’t always the most pleasant, but there’s scientific research to back up the benefits of soaking in a little sun. So any days the clouds part and the temperature is bearable, zip up your jacket and head outdoors. Whether you fancy a stroll through downtown Red Bay, a couple of loops around City Lake Park or ramble somewhere along Bear Creek Lakes, a little fresh air will wake you up and re-energize you. If you’re not up for a walk, even a sit might do the trick. So dust off your porch swing or find a nice picnic table and enjoy those rays
  3. Embrace a project or hobby. Receive new scrapbooking supplies for Christmas? Start cataloguing your 2018 summer vacation. Been awhile since you used the dart board hanging in the man cave, the cookbook with the fancy dessert recipes or the treadmill in the basement? Reintroduce yourself! Find a new TV show to get excited about, start a series you’ve been meaning to read or treat yourself to some new or long forgotten activity. With the build-up to the holidays there seems to always be something else to look forward to, but having a little regular excitement and anticipation doesn’t have to end when you pack up the Christmas decorations.

There are plenty more ways to stave off those winter blues, so if you find something that works for you, go at it full force! I would love to hear any suggestions you’d like to share – reach out to me at alison.james@fct.wpengine.com.

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