How to boost your mood during the Michigan winter blues

DETROIT – It can be a tough time of year, with sunless days, the cold, and commuting in the snow. The dreariness of the season can have an impact on our moods.

However a few simple lifestyle changes can work to boost our moods.

All forms of exercise are known to improve your mood, but instructor Sara Ruhlind said the deep breathing practiced in yoga can set it apart. Ruhlind teaches at White Buffalo in Plymouth, Mich.

Ruhlind said it reduces stress and brings us down to a lower level where our nervous system isn't having to be reactive. She said we are bringing more oxygen into the brain and it also helps with regulation of the serotonin and endorphins in the winter months.

Barb Labadie started practicing yoga six years ago after a divorce. She now does it regularly.

Labadie said it helps her relax after a long day of stress and work. She said when you come to your mat, it just allows you to let all of that walk away and focus on your breath and focus on yourself.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Donna Rockwell said self care is important. She said we need to do things like yoga and meditation, to go for massages, to go to a spa for a few hours because, it recharges the brain.

Rockwell said what you put into your body is also important. She said food is medicine and it really matters what we eat. If you’re just going to have fast food 24/7 then you’re going to have a fast food body and a fast food mind.

Maureen Stoecklein, a registered dietitian in metro Detroit and for the New York Mets encourages people to focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. She said in the brighter the color the fruits and vegetables there’s going to be more B vitamins and more zinc. She recommends

incorporating foods that are high in magnesium that can also help to improve our mood especially during the seasons when the sun is not shining.

“When we use premium fuel we are going to get premium performance,” Stoecklein said.

It is important to note that while lifestyle changes can improve your mood, they will not work for everyone. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, you should first contact your doctor.

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