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Thriving in the Cold

It’s cold; at least here in the Northeast it is! Staying focused, motivated and energized when the weather is cold and grey can be a challenge for some but it doesn’t have to sideline you. Maintaining a stable mood is an important tool to have up your sleeve, regardless of the weather. While there are certainly some people who thrive best in the summer there are others who feel that way about the colder weather. Finding what works for you would most certainly be a valuable tool on your path to thriving.

One of the most common causes of ‘winter blues’ is often referred to as seasonal affective disorder. Characterized by low energy levels, social isolation, oversleeping and weight gain this is becoming more widely recognized as a legitimate issue in need of attention by medical and mental health providers alike.  If symptoms persist longer than a couple of days it is time to see a doctor. Medication, psychotherapy and light therapy are often highly effective in returning people who are struggling with this to a more energized, productive feeling.

Others have a difficult time with a general let down following the holidays and all they bring with them. While the run up to holiday season can be highly stressful, there are often many pieces of the season that make all the work worth it and once ‘over’ it can be difficult to return to ‘normal’ days. Keeping expectations appropriate can make all the difference in the world when navigating the festivities of the season. Just like Mondays, the holidays are going to come around again faster than you know it!

General tips for making it out of the colder months and into the warming of the spring include making sure you keep your exercise schedule up, getting outside for fresh air and sunlight, and staying connected with others. As we’ve had a recent cold snap here I’ve been amazed at how many people are poorly dressed for the weather and then wonder why they are so cold! While it might not be fashionable, good, warm boots, long underwear and warm gear for your hands and head can make all the difference in the world, even if you’re only outside for running errands. If you’re able to do so planning a trip to a sunny location can give you both something to look forward to as well as a solid blast of warmth and sun.

Another tip for savoring the season is to remind yourself that just like with other seasons there are unique qualities to the winter which make it special in its own way. Depending on where you live it can be the only season where making snow angels or curling up with a good book under a blanket are even slightly tempting – no snow angels to be had in the middle of 90 degree days!

And not to worry, the season will be changing soon enough! We’ll be commenting on how hot it is or how high the pollen count is before you know it!

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