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You’ve got this! Melissa Asks: How can we add more sunshine to the dreary winter months?

By Tracy Becker

Licensed Counselor

Thank you, Melissa, for this question. One thing for sure is that our natural circadian rhythms (our body clock) is impacted by the amount of sunlight we have in our days. According to sleep studies 7-9 hours a sleep is a healthy amount, yet in the dark cold winter months sometimes this can increase by 1-2 hours.

As a very productive-oriented society, this often causes us to feel as if we aren’t “doing” enough. Thus, an internal conflict brews: wanting to rest, sleep and be less active VS. being productive, getting everything done, and feeling anxious when we don’t.

If you forgive yourself when you aren’t as productive, and may not reach your goals you will feel better about yourself. Allow yourself time to rest, read and be at ease. Taking advantage of the Sun when it is out. Try a sunbath, even if its too cold to go outside, make yourself a spot where this sun is shinning in and let those healing rays wash over you.

Remind yourself of things to do with family and friends that lift your spirits and make you laugh. Get the games out, camp-out in the living room together, watch funny movies, make funny family videos, get creative with new crafts, learn something new, read a book as a family. There are many options to explore.
Eat lighter. If we eat a lot of complex carbohydrates and meats it makes us feel “heavier” in our bodies and more sluggish. Add more green vegetables and fruits. In addition, Get out in the fresh air whenever you can. Even if it is just a short walk. The cool clean air is good for you. Bundle up and have fun.

Resource: 85 Indoor Activities for Everyone