4 Tips to Send the Winter Blues Packing

tackling winter blues while getting health care degree

Winter is a tough time for a lot of people. The days get shorter and darker, and remaining cheerful and optimistic can take more effort.

Particularly once the joy of the holidays is over, it can seem like a long road until the sun returns in the spring. Here are some ways you can work to beat the winter blues.

1. EAT BETTER

As someone working toward a health care degree, you probably already know a bit about the importance of good nutrition. But you also likely know how easy it is to let these good habits slide when you’re bummed out.

Show a little love for yourself and make healthy food choices that include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good fats and lean meats. Limit foods that sound good but make you feel worse like fast foods, sweets and alcohol.

2. GET SOME EXERCISE

Exercise seems harder in the winter. It’s darker outside and most of us feel like hibernating indoors. Fight that urge and get moving, though, because exercise is one of the best ways to beat the blues.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a review of studies dating back to 1981 confirms that exercise is very effective for fighting depression. You don’t even have to engage in a hard workout to get the benefits: a brisk walk will do if working on your health care degree is leaving you short on time.

3. KNOW IF IT’S SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

Some people have a little more trouble with winter blues than others. They feel sad to a nearly disabling degree during most days during the winter. It can only be diagnosed if the same pattern is repeated for at least three winters in a row.

In some cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms are improved by taking melatonin and/or vitamin D.

Low vitamin D levels seem to be especially linked to seasonal affective disorder because the disorder is much more common in people who live further away from the Equator.

If you do have seasonal affective disorder, consider getting a light box. These devices give off light that is much brighter than normal light and imitates sunlight.

4. CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS

If your winter blues seem to be getting worse despite your efforts, it may be time to call a health care professional.

A doctor or nurse practitioner can help you determine if your winter blues is actually a more severe depression.

Most medical professionals will help you determine if medication, therapy, or a combination of both is an appropriate treatment plan.

Don’t let yourself suffer unnecessarily with the winter blues, no matter how common it may seem. Take the best possible care of yourself and once you get your health care degree, you’ll be able to help take care of others, too.

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