01 Feb Surviving Winter Fatigue
Wow! What a winter it’s been in the Northwest. The Portland area has been hit with more winter storms this year than usual. We saw several snow and ice events before the holidays, the biggest snow storm in 37 years to usher in the new year, and more winter weather on the way. Portland Public Schools have been closed nine days this season and many people have lost work. Needless to say, it has been a disruptive winter in the city and by now many of you may be experiencing the stress of winter fatigue.
Here are a few tips to survive the next wave of snow, while also preparing so that winters to come will not feel as crippling.
- Start taking Vitamin D supplements: A significant contributing factor to feeling blue in the winter is that with darker days, we are not getting enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can be linked to many issues: depression, fatigue, muscle aches, light-headedness, and more. I recommend consulting your doctor to talk about what type of Vitamin D would be beneficial for you.
- Exercise: As the weather gets colder and darker, many people can fall out of their exercising routines. A reduction in exercise can play a major part in the issues you are facing through the winter months. Whether it is finding a local yoga studio to attend classes, going out for a walk, or exercising to a video at home, they all can help with feeling better. Getting the endorphins flowing is a good thing to reduce many symptoms you are experiencing this winter.
- Get outside: Building off exercise, try and get outside. Obviously there are many challenging factors to being outside when the weather is cold, snowy, or icy. Nevertheless, finding a time to take a stroll in your neighborhood can be extremely useful to connecting with neighbors, getting fresh air, and exercising. Try shoveling your walkway or spreading salt on the sidewalk. Good excuses to move around, while also helping your neighbors and mail-people out.
- Light Therapy/Talk Therapy: With the winter months being so dark, many people have found benefits from starting a light therapy routine. There are many lamps out there helpful for getting a little boost to your day. Additionally, working with a mental health therapist to guide and coach you through the winter is a valuable resource. Of the many benefits to working with a therapist, having a ritual to get you out of the house and engaged with another person is crucial.
- Be Social: A primary characteristic of the winter weather is being bound to the home and withdrawing socially. I recommend trying to find ways to hang out with friends or neighbors by inviting folks over to eat chili, or grabbing a warm drink at a neighborhood spot.
All in all, the best way to combat the winter blues is to utilize a combination of each of these, while also preparing ahead of time. So good luck to you as we bunker down for whatever old man winter has in store for us.