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Posted in: Homeowner tips

How your home can help you deal with the winter blues

Homeownership winter blues

Key insights:

  • Long, gray winters can take a toll on even the hardiest of Minnesotans
  • Homeowners can stabilize their moods by taking advantage of natural light sources
  • Other new technology, like the "happy light,” can help those with the winter blues boost their energy and minimize mood swings

For homeowners in the Midwest, the winter often brings low temperatures, strong storms and less sunlight. As the days grow shorter, people tend to slow down and feel less energetic. However, for some homeowners this can be a much more serious issue, resulting in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is commonly known as seasonal depression.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®' Houselogic website, SAD is the result of a biological urge to hibernate, and symptoms often include low energy, oversleeping, poor concentration, irritability, avoidance of social situations and overeating.

To keep your mood up during even the grayest or longest of winters, it's important to get as much sunshine as possible. Below are three ways homeowners can avoid the winter blues.

Get the light in!

The best way to combat the winter blues is to make sure to get plenty of natural light. Even on overcast days that seem overcast, there is still vitamin D peeking through. Make a habit of opening up your window treatments when you get up in the morning and only close them when you leave for the day.

You can even get an extra dose of sunshine by opening up your sunroof cover on your morning commute. Every minute counts.

Get outside when you can

You know that we're bonafide Minnesotans when you hear our next piece of advice: Get outside when you can! Set a challenge to go on a 20-minute walk on any day that the high reaches above 25-30 degrees. Bundle up from head to toe and consider bringing a cup of coffee or hot cocoa to keep you extra warm.

Not sure you can do it alone? Ask a family member or neighbor to take the challenge with you and hold each other accountable. We promise, you'll never be so grateful for your warm house as when you re-enter it after a winter walk!

It's okay to fake it

On the grayest, coldest days, you won't be able to find much sunshine or vitamin D from natural sources. These are the times that you're most at risk for mood swings or feelings of lethargy. To combat those feelings, be sure to purchase vitamin D tablets at your local pharmacy. You may also want to consider buying a light therapy box.

Light therapy boxes are relatively inexpensive devices that promise to boost energy and minimize mood swings that can occur as a result of low exposure to natural light. These boxes have also been shown to help regulate sleep schedules, which can sometimes get off-balance when daylight hours are scarce.

Light boxes are available at different price points at many retailers and online at Amazon.

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