Mid winter blues got you down?
We still have two feet of snow on the ground, and everyone around me is starting to grumble about the snow and long for winter to be over.
How do I keep a smile on my face? Three important practices:
1. Eat Fish and Be Happy!
Did you know that omega-3's can help with depression, including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? Yep! Studies have shown that omega-3s appear to help maintain healthy levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin.
Because our bodies cannot make these essential omega-3 fatty acids, we’ve got to eat them. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. I say the more the merrier, but twice a week is a good start :)
2. Get Outside
My daily walks are very important to me. Just like you, I'm a busy person, but I make it a priority to get outside everyday. I tell myself it's just a ten minute walk, but usual end up walking more like 20 minutes because it just feels so good. You might not think 10 minutes could make a difference, but studies have shown that even just a 10 minute walk releases endorphins or "feel-good" chemicals in the brain that can ease depression.
3. Be Grateful
Research by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. As soon as I get tired of the snow, I remind myself of how much I love to ski and snowshoe, and how grateful I am that my kids get to grow up in the mountains and play in the snow everyday. Tired of shoveling snow? I like to remind myself of what a great workout it is. Tired of the cold and rain? Remember how important all that precipitation is for the dry months of summer. Choosing gratitude may take practice, but it leads to an immediate shift in mood!
In our home, instead of longing for spring, we try to savor the last bit of winter. It won't be long before we're waving goodbye to Rich, packing away the winter coats, and gearing up for a busy Farmers Market season.
Sena Wheeler holds degrees in nutrition and food science in addition to being a Mom, foodie, and third generation fisherman's wife. Visit her at SenaSea.com where she blogs about family, fish and food.