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Mar 15, 2019

Five tips for beating the winter blues

Get enough sleep – but not too much

Getting a full night’s sleep is vital for staying healthy. It’s tempting to go into hibernation mode when temperatures drop, but it turns out that snoozing longer might make you feel more sluggish throughout the day. You should aim for 7-8 hours of shut-eye per night with roughly the same sleep and wake times. To help get the best night’s sleep possible, make your sleep area more relaxing: turn off the TV or any other blue light, reduce the clutter and distractions, and be sure that your mattress and bedding are suited to your physical needs. You can read more about sleep and Lumosity performance in this peer-reviewed study.

Take a digital detour

Increased time indoors during the winter months may lead to more time spent on mobile devices. Since social media and this election year’s polarizing news cycle can contribute to feelings of burnout and anxiety, consider taking a break from your computer and mobile devices. If total abstinence is not realistic, take a digital detour. Try diverting your digital attention toward engaging interactions, like reading longform journalism, doing crosswords, and completimg cognitive workouts, rather than passively watching videos or browsing social feeds. Lumosity offers a variety of games that target core skills like attention, memory, and problem solving in addition to applied skills like math and vocabulary.

Make a watch list

The long winter months are a great time to finally watch the foreign films on your list, or catch up on recent documentaries. As a family, you can create an educational unit by watching a film or series that pairs well with a nearby museum or art gallery that you can visit during these indoor months. For example, watching the new Planet Earth BBC series might inspire you to head to your local aquarium, zoo, or botanical garden. Or, if you’re loving a comedy series, book a follow up visit to a comedy club, or take an improv class to build public speaking skills and off-the-cuff creativity.

Try something new

Famous for their novel ideas, Darwin and Einstein were known to work on multiple unrelated topics simultaneously. It’s also true that tastes and interests change over time. If you’re feeling seasonal stagnation, try stepping back from your regularly scheduled programming and consider taking up a new activity. Take advantage of time indoors to learn a song on the guitar, make your own version of an old favorite recipe, or research an entirely new topic, like the history of your next vacation destination. For a longer term commitment, look into flying lessons, language learning apps, or enroll in a class at a local college. Whatever you choose, applying yourself in different ways can broaden perspectives and make time inside more enjoyable.

Reflect and write

What might seem like an excess of indoor time can instead be a space for you to reflect via activities like writing and practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness practice involves the skill of directing your attention and awareness to the present moment, without judgment. Sometimes a bit of mindful presence or journaling can help to work through the year’s transitions or changes.

What activities help you get through the winter?

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