Posted by Christy Williams on January 19th, 2017
Winter blues, holiday let down and seasonal slump are synonymous with the feeling that many people experience when the days become shorter and the warmth of holiday gatherings disappears.
As the long, cold winter settles in some people experience a mood change marked by a melancholy outlook and perpetual tiredness. Luckily, there are many ways to combat the symptoms both in and outside of the classroom. Five ways to beat the winter blues and overcome an emotional slump include:
1. Go Outside – Though it is chilly outside with dropping temperatures, going outdoors during daylight hours has been proven to lighten moods. The sun’s effect on mood is driven through the exposure to Vitamin D coupled with the release of natural chemicals that positively boost temperament.
2. Make Your Environment Brighter – Similar to the effects of going outside to gain exposure to sunlight, making your environment brighter will also brighten your outlook. Open windows and blinds to allow a stream of direct sunlight to enter the room. Adjust seating in the environment so that individuals are closer to natural light sources. In the event that natural light cannot be accessed, consider adding the presence of an artificial light source called a light box.
3. Get Active – Exercise is a proven method for enhancing mood. Like exposure to sunlight, exercise also releases natural chemicals that favorably affect emotions. A regular exercise regimen relieves stress and the effects can often be felt hours after the workout has concluded.
4. Eat Better – Diet and eating habits have a significant impression on mood and energy. During the winter months when you are likely to be more tired, it is important to adjust your diet to include foods that promote sustainable energy and avoid those that have a tendency to make you crash after an energy surge. Increasing water and nutrient intake can also stabilize energy.
5. Turn Up the Volume – Music has long been used to influence moods. Listening to upbeat, cheery tunes can improve the attitudes of listeners. Consider playing music in the background of daily activities to keep the mood and energy high throughout the day.
Beating the winter blues can easily done with a few tweaks to your daily routines. As an instructor, you have the ability to change the effects the slump has on your students just by brightening your classroom environment and adding a little background music.
Serving mood enhancing foods like chocolate might also influence the positive energy in your classroom. Your adult learners may be more susceptible to the holiday let down and increased stress as they balance their various commitments and responsibilities. Spend time talking with them about the realities of holiday let down and ways they can minimize the melancholy feelings. Encourage them to spend time outside, evaluate their diets and become more active, especially during the winter months.