How to beat the winter blues

Photo by Annabelle Breakey used under Creative Commons license
Photo by Annabelle Breakey used under Creative Commons license

Staff Writer

    Hot chocolate can warm your body. Chicken soup can calm your soul. But what is the solution for a bored and depressed mind? Winter days such as we have been having the past few weeks can bring out the best or the worst in people.

    Oklahomans are generally skeptical about venturing out into twenty-below weather. When a case of cramped family combines with the winter blues, strange things are bound to happen. We find ourselves stuck doing more laundry than usual. The house starts to smell like cookies every day. Suddenly the old Disney movie obsession pops up. Why? Because when we step outside, we are suddenly reminded of the Arctic, a strange and scary place most humans have never been. Our minds want to hibernate. They wish to fantasize about a world where the weather and the characters inhabiting it are warm and welcoming.

    Nevertheless, instead of using time to plan ahead, get fitter or get more connected, we settle for coziness. Rather than succumbing to the 2014 Winter Blues, why not beat them? Take the opportunity to try something new this winter. If you have the courage to undertake the icy roads, you should find some entertainment outside your home. Recently, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast the Musical, was in town for the weekend of February 14th -16th at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. This type of indoor activity provides great outlets for energy and entertainment during cold days.

    Another way to beat the winter blues is to avoid using food as an antidepressant. It is easy to gain extra weight during this weather. Laziness likes to set in, it is dark and cloudy outside. We forget how close spring is and decide to get that second helping of cherry pie with ice cream. Cupcakes call our name louder than usual. “This will cheer you up,” your stomach says. And indeed, it is true. For hundreds of years food has been known to be a great morale-booster for survival. But this is not WWI, the ice age or the zombie apocalypse. Food is plentiful and there is no need to stock up for winter. If you learn to depend on food for comfort during the winter months, it will be hard to quit when summer comes.

    Furthermore, get active. Experts say walking is cheap therapy. Pick an indoor activity with a start and ending point so you can set a goal. Search for a gym in your area that offers diverse classes such as Zumba, Yoga or cardio kickboxing. You could also join a fitness club. The number of personal trainers for both men and women has steadily increased and makes being active even easier.

   Additionally, pet therapy is sometimes the best bet for people who do not like getting out in winter weather. If you own a dog or a cat that you have a strong bond with already, this will become an easy task. Look up pet tricks and or games online. There are a surprising number of articles on creative pet sports. Overall, the real key to beating the 2014 winter blues is to find activities that will be fun and provide a mental challenge while avoiding the temptations of hibernation.