How to Beat the Winter Blues

Winter’s combination of seemingly endless cold weather, gray skies and holiday stress can be enough to get anyone down, but it doesn’t have to. With a few easy and scientifically-backed tips, you can beat the winter blues and be back in good spirits in no time. Here they are:

Eat Smarter, not Harder

Search Google for “holiday weight gain” and you’ll find resource after resource telling you how to avoid it. Certain foods are good not only for your body, but for your mood. Dark chocolate, for instance, actually helps relieve anxiety. Other candies and carbohydrate may provide temporary euphoric feelings, but they’re short-lived and can fall away to greater anxiety and depression.

Get Active

While it may seem counter-intuitive when it’s freezing outside, a brisk 35-minute walk five times a week can improve mild to moderate symptoms of depression.

Help Others

Volunteering at your local soup kitchen can improve your overall mental health and life satisfaction.

Make Your Own Environment Brighter

Your body may crave more daylight, which the winter sun won’t produce. Sitting next to an artificial light called a light box for half an hour a day can be as effective as antidepressants. Open your blinds and curtains and sit closer to your windows to get an extra dose of sunshine.

Effectively Simulate Dawn

People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression that sets in during the late fall or early winter feel irritable, depressed, lethargic and have trouble waking up. To combat those symptoms, a dawn simulator may help alleviate some of those symptoms and make it easier for the SAD-sufferer to make it out of bed.

Follow the above tips to beat the winter blues. For more information about how you can stay positive this holiday season, find your nearest Test Smartly Labs location today.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays: Diabetes & Holiday Stress

The holidays are quickly approaching, which for many people means a season of eating to excess and celebrating with friends and family. However, the holidays can also be an extremely stressful time, especially for those dealing with diabetes. Stress wrecks havoc on blood sugar levels, which makes it extremely important for people with diabetes to be extra careful during this time of year.

Be Aware of How Stress Affects the Body

When the body undergoes high levels of stress, it releases certain hormones, like cortisol, that cause spikes in blood sugar levels. While this happens to everyone regardless of whether or not they have diabetes, it’s especially dangerous for those that do have diabetes. That’s because it’s much more difficult to get blood sugar levels back to normal when you suffer from diabetes. Understanding how stress affects your body will help you better control your blood sugar levels.

Plan Ahead

Before all the holidays hit full steam, make a plan. To-do lists can be very helpful. Make a list of any errands, responsibilities, and events that you have over the next month. Maybe even write out a full calendar so you can visualize ahead of time what each day and week will look like during the holiday season. Knowing ahead of time what you need to do, and when you need to do it, will help reduce holiday-related stress and even allow you to plan out a little time to yourself to relax and de-stress.

Making Health a Priority

The bottom line in keeping holiday stress from affecting your health with diabetes is to make your health a priority, even when it’s the busiest time of the year. Take the time to eat healthy–try to cook at home and buy healthy options like frozen vegetables and whole grain foods. And don’t forget to exercise; physical activity is a great natural stress reliever. Exercise also helps to lower blood pressure and control glucose levels, along with many other health benefits for your body and mind.

Test Smartly Labs offers diabetes testing to determine if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic. We can also assist you in managing the disease. Find your nearest Test Smartly Labs location today.