10 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

10 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

How To Smile Like a Snowman This Winter!
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Does your snowman wear a frown?
A lot of people are affected by the Winter Blues, known medically as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This condition is most likely caused by the reduced amount of sunlight in the late fall and winter months, and it causes many people to feel very depressed without any outside stimulation to cause it. Does this sound like you? If it does, I'm here to help with 10 ways to make yourself a little happier this season.

1. Get outside.

Since you are spending a lot more time indoors, now is a great time to immerse yourself in a new hobby. This can even be your new year's resolution! Find a passion that gets your excited and keeps you occupied for hours. You won't have any time to think about the things that get you down.

3. Journal

Writing is a great way to get out those pent-up emotions. Instead of talking to someone about your problems, which can only extend the time you think about your troubles, or keeping them to yourself, mulling them over in your mind for hours, write down your thoughts. It supplies the release you need by sharing your thoughts, but once you've written them down, the conversation is over and you can move on. Additionally, journaling is a great way to achieve your new year's resolutions - keep a log of your eating, finances, and anything else you want to improve.

4. Increase Your Intake of Vitamin D

Speaking of eating healthier, increasing Vitamin D in your diet can be a great way of supplementing that luck of sunshine. Vitamin D, normally soaked up through our skin from the sun, can greatly contribute to your mood elevation or depression. Vitamin D can be found in fish, eggs, and dairy products made from whole milk. If you don't think you're getting enough in your diet, consider asking your personal physician to do some blood work - if you find your body's lacking, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. Make sure you choose one from a reputable brand and take it as instructed to reap the greatest benefits.

5. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to increase your own joy while helping someone else as well. It's proven that helping others makes us feel better about ourselves - it gives us a sense of community, importance, and usefulness, and it can be a a great way to meet other people and better the world around you. This is an especially good idea for anyone who is feeling lonely this winter. You'll be working with others and meeting other people who you can build relationships with that will keep you feeling happy and loved all through the year.

6. Declutter Your Surroundings

Don't wait for spring cleaning to get your organize your belongings. A cluttered environment can increase anxiety. Take a day to clean up the house and give yourself room to breathe. Donate items you no longer need. Gift items you think someone you know would love. Make yourself a spot where you can sit and relax when you need a moment of peace.

7. Cook a Hearty Meal

In the winter, we tend to have some unhealthy eating habits. Some, because of depression, tend to eat to little, while others eat to much. Meanwhile, there are plenty of sugary temptations to wreak havoc on our diet and digestive systems. A great way to solve this problem, and improve your mood, is to take this time to cook yourself a hearty meal. It will keep you from snacking unhealthily through the day (if you're a chronic eater), or it will force you to actually sit down and eat a nutritious meal (if you tend to stay away from food when you're in a bad mood). Make sure the meal is high in protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and carbohydrates with a high fiber content so you feel satisfied. Cooking is a great hobby that can be fueled into a way to beat depression, while eating the delicious food increases your serotonin levels, making you happier.

8. Exercise

Exercise increases your endorphin levels, which makes you a very happy person. Additionally, it makes you healthier and can help you achieve that new year's resolution you've been working on for years now. Take the time to do a 30 minute workout each day and you'll love the results.

9. Enjoy Free Activities in Your City

There are lots of indoor events that happening in your city during the winter to keep you entertained and get you out of the house. Check your local libraries page for special events. Look up local museums to see if they are featuring a gallery free-of-charge or having a free-admission day. Check if your local community college is having any free concerts. Get out and about and enjoy the world around you.

10. Drink Lots of Water

This is quite possibly the most simple and most important thing you can do to improve your mood. A dehydrated body is an unhappy body. Make sure you are drinking at least 64oz of water a day, every day, not just in the winter. You'll find yourself having more energy, a happier mood, and a healthier body.

The winter blues can turn what would otherwise be another beautiful season into dreaded, dreary months. Take some time to elevate your mood and enjoy life around you - every moment is precious, and you deserve to spend it smiling.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia commons

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An Open Letter To The Judgmental People In My Hometown

Imperfections are what gives a diamond its value.
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Dear judgemental, simple minded people from my hometown,

I am sorry that I have never met your level of perfection.

Coming from a small town, everyone settles to the norm of the people around them. Unlike you all, I have always been a little bit different.

I've never understood why everyone always seems to feel the need to talk down to the next person. People love to gossip about a situation as long as the situation has nothing to do with them. For every move I made, someone was always there to bring out the negativity in the situation. You all are always sweeping around somebody else's doorstep when I know your doorstep is not clean. Maybe it is time to buy a new broom. I know that I cannot please everybody and that I will also not be liked by everybody. However, I deserve respect just as the next person.

SEE ALSO: Forgiving Someone Who Didn't Ask For It

I hope for the sake of the future generations of our small town, you all can learn to be more accepting to change.

I hope that no one judges your children like some of you all have judged me. I hope that the people that you love and care about are welcomed and accepted for who they are.

If we put as much time into being better people or helping others like you put into judging others, the world would be a much better place.

Imperfections are what gives a diamond its value. Pebbles are perfectly round. I'd much rather be a diamond, one in a million, than a pebble that fits in.

Sincerely,

The one whose every move you criticize

Cover Image Credit: Haley Williamson

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Today, I'm Grateful For The Accident That Nearly Ended Everything

It changed my life for the worse — and then for the better.

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Four years ago, on August 5th, 2014, I was in a car accident on highway I-80. We swerved over the median and into oncoming traffic. I was in the front passenger seat so I was at the point of impact. I broke my right hand, my right leg and I got a traumatic brain injury. I was in the hospital for almost two months and then was in therapy for a few months after that.

Though it was subtle, the accident changed me as a person and at first, I hated it. I wanted to go back to the way I was before and didn't understand why I couldn't. But looking back, I'm happy the accident happened and turned me into who I am today.

It's an odd thing to say, right? I'm glad my life and personality were almost permanently changed due to this traumatic car accident. But let me explain.

Before the accident, I was a shy little thing that didn't like to talk about my problems. I was depressed but no one knew so I wasn't getting the help I needed. After the accident, however, it was like a dam had broken in me. I couldn't stop talking and I was telling everyone about my problems. I was an introvert that suddenly had to navigate how to be an extrovert. I had to learn where the line was of what was appropriate to say and talk about and what wasn't.

Thankfully, after four years, I have a therapist to help me with my mental health and I think I have the whole socializing thing down... for the most part.

Another benefit of the accident is that is showed me who my real friends are. Most people who I considered to be my friends visited me for my first month out of the hospital. They would tell me how classes are going and how they missed me but then they would talk about themselves and their problems like I was only there to listen; I wasn't supposed to talk about my problems but I did. Some of them drifted away and didn't text me or ask me to hang out with them after a few months. It really hurt and made me really sad and wonder, "What did I do?" I felt so alone.

Eventually, I realized that how they were acting was not my fault and if they treated me like that, then they weren't my real friends. It taught me how I deserve to be treated and it's okay if the only company you have is you.

One of the best good things that came out of the whole hospitalization thing is that I got a dog! His name is Winchester, Chester for short, and he is a mini husky. I picked him out from pictures my dad showed me and I liked that he had one eye that was half brown and half blue. I went with my dad to pick him up from the breeder in Kansas only a week after I got out of the hospital. Chester sat on my lap the whole three hours home. My parents got him for me because they thought it would be nice for me to have a little companion and they were right. He doesn't bark or pee in the house, he's loyal, he can be playful but he can also be lazy. He is the bestest little puppers ever and I love him so much!

Moral of the story: If you want a dog but your parents won't get you one, get in an accident that almost kills you and then maybe they'll get you a dog. (But really don't do that.)

Throughout the years, I've spent too much time thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't gotten in the car that day. But I think this was something that was meant to happen to me. If I hadn't been in that accident, I might've gotten hurt a different way and my injuries could have been worse. I am actually thankful that this happened to me because if it hadn't, who knows the kind of person I would be today?

Plus, if it hadn't happened, I wouldn't have gotten a dog and he makes my life so much better so I'm glad I have him.

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