Column: Five ways to rid winter blues

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Commentary by Kirsten Shaw

Weather changes, general fatigue, financial limitations and relationship tensions are just a few of the reasons that millions of Americans battle the blues every winter. See if one of these five strategies can help you or someone you love.

  • TAKE A BREATH. Using a balloon to breath is great for us even if we aren’t decorating for the holidays. Exhaling into a balloon helps utilize the full capacity of our lungs and naturally helps calm nerves and reduce anxiety.
  • DON’T FAKE IT. Despite it being quite common, the disparity between how we ACTUALLY feel about the holidays and what we think we are SUPPOSED to feel can make us feel confused and guilty. It is what it is. Bless and release the rest.
  • REDEFINE OUR PRIME TIME: Most television programs are not designed to make viewers better people or even feel better. Instead, try doing some simple exercises. Even a quick 20-minute walk can relieve stress and increase endorphin levels.
  • GET REAL: Author and researcher Emma Seppala explains that despite proving that positive experiences triple the quantity of negative ones, our brains still tend to focus on the negative. “By cultivating gratitude, we actually become more realistic because we pay attention to all the things that are going right instead of wrong.”
  • RIGHT-SIZE OUR COMMITMENTS: Reducing our obligations and focusing on the activities that best refresh our spirits will give us the necessary downtime we tend to disregard during the holiday hustle and bustle.

There is a Japanese proverb that says, “One kind word can warm three winter months.” If on a cold and blustery day, you find yourself with only one kind word to say, let it be to yourself.

Kirsten Shaw lives with her family in Fishers and is the manager at IFAST, Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training. She has successfully maintained her weight-loss of over 100 pounds and enjoys helping others embrace their inner Wonder Woman.

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