Let’s Talk About Those Winter Blues

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Winter Blues! Winter so cool! Winter so long!

Handling the winter blues.

Do you have a case of the winter blues? After a busy holiday season, it is normal to feel down in January and February. We do not get much sunshine, the weather is miserable, and life just is not as busy. I am not an expert in depression and not a medical professional. I just wanted to share some tips which I find helpful to get through the remaining winter months.

1.     Follow a consistent routine and get enough rest. I am an early riser. I start my day at 5 am and go to bed by 9 pm. This way I consistently get 8 to 7-1/2 hours of sleep every night. Others may start their day later but it is important to get proper rest.

Going for a winter walk for your mental health.

2.     Go for a walk. Break-up your daily routine with 20 to 60 minutes of walking per day. This exercise does not a need gym membership. It is free. While not always easy to tackle with inclement weather, persevere, bundle up and go! Some arenas have walking tracks, or you could walk in a mall. Try to figure out what works for you. Take a friend along.

Take your vitamins.

3.     Take your vitamins! Again, this is not medical advice, but a healthy body equals a healthy mind. I consistently take Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin. I recommend you discuss this with doctor.

4.     Write things down that bother you 2 hours before you go to bed. Chronically bad sleep is more than just a nuisance. It weakens the immune system, reduces memory and attention span, and increases the likelihood of depression. Write down all of your thoughts, especially anything that is bothering you, two hours before bed, then crumple up the paper and throw it away. This symbolic gesture empowers you and calms your mind, before you go to bed for the night.

Use a lightbox for SAD.

5.     Use a light box! Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can be improved with a light box. Again, discuss this with your medical provider. Ask for recommendations. Based on my research, the light box should provide an exposure to 10,000 lux of light and produce as little UV light as possible. Typical recommendations include using the light box within the first hour of waking up in the morning (20 to 30 minutes), about 16 to 24 inches from your face, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions about distance, with eyes open, but not looking directly at the light.

6.     Volunteer! I am a volunteer at my church, home builders’ associations, and CCI. Giving back to the community makes you feel good. It is fulfilling and puts you in contact with others with a common sense of community.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Wash away the blues! Join CCI and volunteer at CCI today!

Henry J. Jansen, Criterium Jansen Engineers

Henry J. Jansen, P.Eng., ACCI

President, Criterium-Jansen Engineers

MVP Properties.

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