The winter season (or at least our SoCal version of it) is upon us. The days get shorter, temperatures cool down, our normally crowded beaches empty and for some, depression and anxiety set in. Known as the “winter blues,” this mood-altering season leaves some feeling depressed, unmotivated and lethargic. Luckily, you can fight back year-round with small lifestyle changes that have a big impact.
1. Care for your body. Exercising relieves stress and creates an overall sense of well-being by prompting your body to produce “feel good” chemicals. Sleep is also vitally important, so be sure you get enough rest.
2. Avoid alcohol and other drugs. People often drink or take drugs to self-medicate but in reality, drugs and alcohol only intensify problems. See local addiction resources at bchd.org.
3. Volunteer. Donating your talents and energy to help other people is deeply rewarding and a great way to establish social connections. It feels good to give back.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition … it can’t be stressed enough. Many mental illnesses are influenced by dietary factors, so be sure to each well-rounded meals rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
5. Don’t be afraid to get help. Seeking help is a sign of strength – not weakness. Professional treatment can help you overcome mental illnesses and addiction. See a list of local resources at bchd.org/resources.