Dr. Brett’s Top 5 Ways to Feel Better This Winter

How are those resolutions you made a couple of weeks ago doing?  Statistics tell us that 30% of us have already fallen back into our old habits.  Don’t be too hard on yourself – old habits are hard to break!  Many of my patients tell me that this is the start of the “tough season”.  The resolutions have failed and now we are getting close to the month known as  “Forevuary”.

It is easy to slip into feeling blue when the days are short and the weather is cold and those hot summer days seem so far away.  Of course, as we all know, in two short months we are staring springtime in the eye but on a quiet, gray, Tuesday afternoon – it can seem an eternity away.  Rather than looking ahead and delaying our happiness, we need to figure out how to feel the best we can in the winter months.

My top 5 tips for staying healthy and happy in the winter:

1) Get sunlight in the day: If you live in an area that is quite cloudy in the winter – consider using a light box (see last post) in the day.  Light is important as it produces melatonin which helps regulate our sleep.  The blast of light in the middle of the day will shut melatonin release off and save it for night time – when is should be released.

2) Eat colourful veg:  This time of the year it can be hard to think about eating salads but make sure that at least two of your meals everyday have an array of vegetables like red peppers, kale, squash, yams, and broccoli.  Other good sources of antioxidants: green tea, dark chocolate, and red wine.  Soups are an excellent way to get lots of vegetables.

3) Be sociable:  make sure at least once a week you meet up with a friend and do something active – preferably outside.  Friends are important in helping prevent a slide into seclusion.  Friends can help keep you accountable to your goals.

4) Find a project you are passionate about:  I recently heard about a man who overcame serious depression by writing a note to himself that he carried around in his wallet.  He made himself look at that note everyday.  The note said, “Give a s&*t about something today!”.  Find something external to yourself to get passionate about.

5) Practice daily meditation.  I talk about the importance of meditation a lot because it works!  Research has shown that meditation shrinks the part of the brain that is responsible of anxiety and anger and develops the part of the brain responsible for rationale, calm thought.  Twice a day for 10 minutes will make a big difference.  You don’t need to sit in lotus position.  Sit in a chair and focus on breathing.

I look forward to hearing from you and hearing how you are getting through the winter.  Send me an email, I would love to hear from you.

Brett

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