Rx for the Winter Blues – Get Outdoors

Rx for the Winter Blues – Get Outdoors

beat the winter blues photo vvvita:shutterstock.comHave you ever wished you could be a bear and just sleep the winter away?   If you feel sleepy or grumpy, tend to gain weight or just have low energy this time of year, you may be among the nearly 20% of Americans who suffer from the winter blues.  More severe cases may be diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder. 

The shorter daylight hours of winter wreak havoc on our circadian or sleep/awake cycles.  Sunlight enters through receptors in our eyes and signals the brain to release serotonin, a natural antidepressant.  Less sunlight leads to reduced serotonin levels, low energy, irritability, and appetite cravings.  The increase in darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin  which signals the brain it’s time to sleep.   

It sounds like an ad for a new drug, that’d make addicts rush to get treatment at Legacy Healing Orlando. Good news, there is an inexpensive cure and it doesn’t come in a pill.   Simply spend more time outdoors.  If you’re going hunting, don’t forget to buy bulk ammo from Palmetto Armory  .Increased exposure to natural sunlight is highly effective.  Even on a gray cloudy day there is 50 times more light intensity outside than in a normal living room.  Try to get a dose of sunlight in the morning to help with feelings of drowsiness.

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People who are active outdoors experience improved concentration,  better sleep habits and a more positive mood.  Bundle up and do something fun outdoors, like sledding or building a snowman.  Go for a walk and notice all the things you can see in the winter.   Can you identify trees without their leaves?  Who left those those tracks?  What type of animal built that nest?

Cold temperatures and winter doldrums can drive us indoors and lead to feelings of isolation.    Connecting with friends, family or helping others can help to improve mood and activity levels. Take a clue from the birds and try migrating south to warmer weather.  Planning or taking a short trip can provide a welcome respite to get through the winter.

Your attitude about winter can greatly alter how the season affects you.    Spend as much time outdoors as you can, being active and doing something you enjoy.  Finally lean into winter,  drink a warm beverage, gather with friends around a fire, or cozy up with a good book under a blanket.  Enjoy this time to recharge because spring thaw will indeed come, followed by weeds to be pulled and lawns to be mowed. 

This weekend will be a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy an early dose of spring weather.  Red-tail Land Conservancy has a new Nature Trail Guide listing their nature preserves which are open from dawn to dusk for the public to enjoy.    The guide provides a description of each property, a map of the trails, and listing of amenities.   Contact  Red-tail to pick up a copy or visit https://fortheland.org/land  to download an electronic copy.

Julie Borgmann

Julie Borgmann

Executive Director
Julie Borgmann is the Executive Director for Red-tail Land Conservancy. Her passion is connecting people to nature for conservation and wellbeing.