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To continue the discussion from our previous article on keeping seasonal affective disorder (SAD) at bay, here are more simple tips to keep you from getting the winter blues.  Feel free to comment below with anything that works for you to keep your brain sunny.

Keep Your Sleep Schedule Consistent: It may be very tempting to sleep in longer or lounge in bed later than you would usually do during colder months.  Avoid this pitfall at all costs.  While enjoying your cozy bed more than usual may seem harmless, it is contrary.  This will affect your biological clock (circadian rhythm) and weight management and can turn into a vicious circle of insomnia, lethargy, and lack of motivation.  The winter season naturally throws off the body’s melatonin levels, so it is of the utmost importance to keep your sleep as regular as possible.

Getting Involved: The holiday season is the perfect time to get involved with social activities or volunteer opportunities.  Now is the time to join that golf group, bridge club, or knitting circle.  If you have been thinking about volunteering, there are plenty of options to fit your interests.  Giving back not only boosts your mood but tends to make good will contagious.  If you need to, start small.  Organize a coat drive for a homeless shelter or a book drive for a local elementary school.  Drop off needed supplies at your favorite animal shelter.  Set an example for your friends and family by practicing acts of kindness and paying it forward.  Plant trees or volunteer with your kids in a community garden.  Even a small gesture like paying for someone’s coffee will not only make someone’s day (or week) but it will keep you smiling and feeling warm all day.

Weight Management Is Not Seasonal: Living a healthy lifestyle is not seasonal.  It is a way of life.  Long-term weight-loss, weight management, and an improved quality of life is year round.  That means eating real, whole food 365 days a year.  Winter months are even more crucial for getting in your fruits and vegetables, especially when it comes to mental health.  Studies show that people who consume a high amount of healthy produce are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety and more likely to have higher levels of happiness and self-esteem.

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