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Winter Perk-Me-Ups

Tips to push through winter with a smile on your face



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Short days and long, long nights. This is the light-deprived time of year that can conspire against even the most normally jovial, glass-half-full sorts into a full blown case of the winter blues.

Perhaps the best antidote for the phenomenon sometimes known as SADS (or seasonal affective disorder) is a good kick in the endorphins, explains Dr. Henri Roca, director of integrative medicine at Greenwich Hospital.

While SADS can be serious enough for some people to require medication, there are some do-it-yourself cures that have feel good fringe benefits.

No surprise, vigorous exercise tops the list for its abilities to elevate the mood along with your heart rate, says Roca. A power walk or run at Tod’s Point on a sunny day would be close to his ideal prescription for winter mood enhancement.

Meanwhile, here are some other tips for adding a little emotional sunshine to your grey winter world.

Chase the Light

The Vitamin D that comes from sunshine is essential to our emotional health and well-being, but unfortunately the earth’s position in the winter makes it virtually impossible to get enough if you dwell in the cold, dark Northeast, explains Roca. Besides sitting under a special broad spectrum light (that actually does work!), traveling to tropical locales is the best possible way to embrace that healing sun. Go ahead, make it an adventure: Check out exotic offerings from Tauck Tours and Cazenove & Lloyd.

Flex Your Mind

New intellectual challenges are a great way to alter your perspective without taking a town car to the airport. Try classes offered through Greenwich Adult & Continuing Ed, Manhattanville College or Purchase College.

Adopt a Pet

Animals, especially dogs, are being used to enhance the mood of everyone from the terminally ill to struggling young readers. So, imagine what giving Fido the care and love he deserves could do for you. Find a loveable animal to call your own through Adopt-a-Dog or PAWS.

Declutter

Sometimes order gives us a fresh perspective. Clean your closets and give some things to charity. Make some extra cash at Greenwich’s plethora of high-quality apparel and furnishing consigners. Or, consult with California Closets for a makeover of a grander, more handsomely efficient scale.

Do Some Good

Experts often say one of the best ways to get out of a funk is by doing for others. Meaningful volunteer opportunities abound and can be accessed through the always informative Community Answers team. Of course, Greenwich-based Family Centers and Greenwich Hospital are always looking to add to their volunteer ranks.

Focus on Diet

Eating a diet rich in “good clean proteins” and low in processed foods is key to staying on an even keel, says Roca. So clean out the pantry and stock up on organic, grass fed everything at Whole Foods or your favorite health-focused market.

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