CLEVELAND – With the colder weather this time of year, many of us are hunkering down and spending more time indoors.
Although it’s comfy to curl up on the couch, doing this too much can make it easy to come down with a case of the winter blues.
“With the winter blues, you may notice you don’t want to go out as often because it gets dark earlier, and we don’t have as much sunlight. You may start feeling more irritable and impatient. Your appetite can also increase, and so you may eat more, too,” explained Kia-Rai Prewitt, PhD, a psychologist with Cleveland Clinic.
To combat the winter blues, Dr. Prewitt said it’s important to find ways to stay active.
Along with reducing your risk of chronic diseases, exercise can be a great way to boost your mood.
And when the temperatures drop, try not to rely too heavily on comfort foods. Dr. Prewitt said eating a healthy diet can do wonders for your mental health as well.
With cold weather and less sun, people may also find some relief through light therapy, which involves using a special lamp to mimic sunlight.
Another way to keep the winter blues at bay is to stay social.
She urges people to contact someone they’ve been meaning to connect with.
“Maybe you’ve been meaning to reach out to a family member or friend that you reconnected with during the holidays, but you haven’t yet because you’ve been feeling a little down or tired. I would just encourage you to go ahead and reach out to those folks,” Dr. Prewitt said.
While feeling down from time to time is normal, Dr. Prewitt encourages people to seek professional help if they’re regularly struggling with their mental health.