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How to Avoid the Winter Blahs

With shorter days and bad weather, many people feel down during a long New England winter. But there are steps you can take to prevent or reduce seasonal depression.   

What is seasonal depression?

Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to the seasons. The most common occurrences of SAD take place during the late fall and early winter when sunlight hours are reduced and the weather can be bleak. 

1. Get some fresh air

Try and go outside for a few minutes of daylight every day if the weather allows it. If you can’t get outside regularly, try using a light box that creates light similar to natural sunlight.

2. Watch what you eat

During the cold winter months you are more likely to crave sweets and starches. But carbohydrates and sugar cause sugar levels to spike, which can leave you feeling irritable, tired, and unsatisfied. To counteract this, try to maintain a balance in your diet by including protein in your meals. 

3. Make sure you get enough vitamin D

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, but consuming certain foods, such as salmon, tuna, milk, egg yolks, and fortified cereals, can also provide you with vitamin D.   

4. Get moving

It’s important to stay physically and socially active in any season. Taking a short walk each day is an easy way to improve your mood. CarePartners of Connecticut members can also use their SilverSneakers® benefit1 to stay active. Check your local senior center for activities that interest you. Senior centers are a great way to stay connected and find people who share your interests. 

5. Plan ahead

Use the downtime in winter to start getting ready for spring activities. Make a plan for the activities you like to do in spring and summer.

6. Talk to your doctor

If you are concerned about feeling down or depressed, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can check for signs and symptoms of depression by talking to you about your mood and lifestyle.

1SilverSneakers is a registered trademark of Tivity Health, Inc. © 2019 Tivity Health, Inc. All rights reserved. Silver­Sneakers fitness program is provided by Tivity Health, Inc.™