/ Dull Weather, Bright Mind

Dull Weather, Bright Mind

Aug 09, 2013

Ah, the winter blues have arrived.

My healthy lifestyle, which so effortlessly brought serenity to my mind and tone to my muscles during the summer, is the last thing I am thinking about as the cold weather sets in. But I've been through this yearly cycle enough times to know that my instincts are out of whack, leading me down a path away from health and towards depression.

By definition, depression is a condition of emotional unhappiness; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any experience. It can manifest itself in physical fatigue and mental dullness. Whether we’ve been diagnosed as depressed or not, we've all felt it to varying degrees at some point in our lives. Here are some tips to help you to move through this gloomy season while maintaining a positive state of mind.


If staying under the warm bedcovers and sleeping the morning away is more inviting than putting on your gym clothes, don’t indulge it. Exercise even when you don't want to. The motivation to work out comes from getting off your butt and moving. Exercise releases endorphins – the “feel good” hormones – into the body, so after you do it your mood will naturally lift. Often we wait to feel inspired, but inspiration comes when we are willing to act.


On the days when it’s frigidly cold and only the borderline insane are out running in their dryfit leggings, opting to stay in and do your routine at home is better than not doing it at all. If you love jogging outside, throw on your Polypro gloves, and get out there – don’t let a moment of doubt prevent a good jog. If you lift weights at your local gym and can’t get out one night, just do some push-ups in your living room instead. Be flexible with your routine. Part of maintaining a positive state of mind is adapting to your ever-changing environment and not being attached to one particular way of doing things.


Commit to doing five minutes of activity even if you don't feel like it – everyone can spare a measly five minutes. On the days when you’d rather experience the agony of a bikini wax than bring in the day with a series of Sun Salutations, just start your yoga practice. A regular yoga routine can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours, but five minutes is all you need to know whether you are physically tired or whether your mind is trying to trick you into laziness. If after a few minutes you feel worse, your body probably needs rest, so take a day off. In most cases, giving yourself permission to do only five minutes takes the pressure off and you are able to exercise peacefully rather than out of guilt.


If you want to feel better, don’t let your environment or the weather stop you from being active. However, if you discover your regular routine falls short of lifting your winter blues, here are some techniques that specifically transform sadness into serenity.


Yoga asanas, or postures, heal the body as well as the emotions and the mind. When you feel emotionally down, watch your posture. Chances are your shoulders are hunched over and your arms are folded into your chest. This is a posture of self-protection from a perceived external threat. Indulging this posture will only cause you to feel more vulnerable and sad. Asanas designed to open the chest increase energy and expose the heart, generating a feeling of self-confidence.

Talking and Writing

The winter months bring greater isolation with every snowfall, so make a point to socialize and talk about your feelings with a trusted friend. Writing in a journal is also helpful as it gives you perspective on your thoughts. You are able to see on paper whether you are blowing things out of proportion or whether there is some truth to your feelings. Whether you simply tolerate winter or loathe it with a passion, you can take action and prevent the dull weather from leading you into a state of depression. All you need is a willing spirit and a belief that this too shall pass.



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