5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health as We Approach Winter 

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As winter approaches, the days get shorter and the temperatures drop. During this time, some people might start to experience what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This disorder is caused by shifts in mood due to changes in the weather. The more severe cases of this disorder can start to affect your sleep patterns, your energy levels, ability to concentrate, and other day-to-day activities. These seven tips can help you combat the symptoms of SAD. 

Consistent Exercise 

It can be hard to maintain your normal levels of activity and motivation when it’s dark and cold outside. A Harvard study shows that 15 minutes of running or one hour of walking can dramatically decrease your risk of depression. Aside from running or walking, there are other low impact exercises you can do to  keep active. Jumping jacks, pushups, and yoga are all great ways to do minimal movement, but stay moving.

Get Sleep 

According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night. Getting enough sleep at night gives you more energy and boosts your mood during the day. To improve your quality of sleep, there are several steps you can take. Going to bed at the same time every night and starting a bedtime ritual (reading, meditating, etc.) can greatly improve the quality of your sleep. 

Stay Connected with Loved Ones

Staying in contact with friends and family during the winter months can help ease the pain and loneliness usually accompanied with the shorter, darker days. Numerous studies have shown that social interaction can boost your mood. If you’re having feelings of depression, reach out to a close friend or family member about how you’re feeling. 

Eat Healthy

The winter holidays mean foods with a lot of sugars and carbohydrates. While it’s nice to indulge every once in a while, it’s important to balance these foods with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating right greatly affects your energy levels and can boost your mood. During the winter, it might also be a good idea to take vitamin supplements to ensure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients. 

With winter comes shorter and colder days. During this time, It’s important to remember to put yourself first. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during these months is important for your mental and physical well-being.  

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