Tips to beat winter blues

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Winter can take a toll on your emotional well-being. John Birkland, a Behavioral Health Wellness Coach with HealthParnters, joined KARE 11 News @ 4 with some tips to help beat the winter blues and keep your spirits up.

· Eat right. The food that you eat can impact your overall well-being. Eating your standard fruits and vegetables gives you the nutrients your body needs, and craves. Also incorporate foods that are natural mood boosters, including complex carbohydrates from whole grains and beans, omega-3's found in fish and dark chocolate with 70% or more of cocoa.

· Exercise. Getting your heart rate up increases the production of endorphins, which are hormones that gives you a natural sense of well-being. It also reduces the production of stress hormones. Head to the gym or find activities around the house that get your heart rate up, like vigorous cleaning or walking the stairs. Even low-intensity workouts, such as walking, can get your heart rate up.

· Stay connected to family and friends. Love and belonging is one of the five basic human needs. Spending a lot of time indoors alone can lead to boredom and possibly even depression. Find ways to have fun with others and do things that you enjoy.

· Add some light. Exposure to light can make a big difference in your well-being, and in some cases can work as well as medication to ease mild depression. Take advantages of the warmer-weather days and take a walk outside, even if it's cloudy. Or, try shoveling instead of using the snow blower. Remember to dress for the weather.

· Be prepared. Be prepared for the season's roadblocks and the stress that it can cause. Plan extra time for your commutes and stay vigilant when driving. Bring a long a favorite CD to help pass the time, or car pool.

For more information on a depression screening, head to Health Partners


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