Home Uncategorized Winter blues and you

Winter blues and you


Jean Ince | Domestic Columnist

When it is cold outside
and you are “cooped-up” inside,
have you experienced
the “winter blues”?
You may have thought it
was all in your head; however,
the “winter blues” is
actually a mild depression
brought on by a decrease
in exposure to sunlight as
autumn deepens.
In fact, 14 percent of
Americans say they suffer
from the winter blues.
Although the winter blues
are not as severe as longterm
depression, they can
change the way a person
thinks, reacts, and deals with
everyday challenges.
Here are some signs to
look for.
If you experience two or
more of the following symptoms
each year in the fall
and into the spring you may
suffer from the winter blues:
• Increased feelings of
lethargy. You feel like you
can’t get going, not only in
the morning, but throughout
the day.
• Difficulties waking up in
the mornings as the days get
• Difficulty concentrating
and thinking creatively in
comparison to the summer
• Incorrectly blaming oneself
for things that go wrong.
• Difficulty performing
tasks that normally seem to
be easy or enjoyable.
• Increased craving for
carbohydrate-rich foods like
chocolate and sodas.
There is no known way to
prevent the development of
winter blues; however, there
are steps you can take to
manage symptoms and keep
them from getting worse
over time.
• Exercise outside. Especially
when the weather
permits. Exercise can be a
walk through the park. Even
light yard work is exercise.
• Eat larger portions of
complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are
whole grain products like
whole wheat bread, pasta
and sweet potatoes instead
of white potatoes.
• Resist unhealthy snacks.
Fresh fruit and vegetables,
whole grain crackers, cheese
cubes, yogurt and nuts make
great healthy snacks.
• Limit oversleeping. Do
not depend on afternoon
naps each day.
• Set a regular bedtime
and stick to it.
• Wake up at the same
time each day. In fact, try
getting up at the same time
every day instead of sleeping
in late on the weekends.
For more information on
depression or winter blues,
contact the Howard County
Cooperative Extension Service
at 870-845-7517 or check
out my Facebook page at
You can also visit our office
located on the second floor
of the courthouse.
Recipe of the Week
Here is some great comfort
food during the winter
months. This recipe uses
whole grain pasta and contains
lots of fiber!
Pasta and Bean Soup
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (14 ½ oz.) cans chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked whole
wheat elbow macaroni
1 (16 oz.) can white kidney
beans, rinsed and drained
Cilantro, chopped
Cheese, grated
Sauté the onions and garlic
in olive oil for a few minutes
over medium heat. Add
the tomatoes, chicken broth,
salt and pepper. Cook on low
for 20 minutes.
Add the cooked macaroni,
beans, and cilantro.
Heat through.
Sprinkle with grated
cheese and serve hot with
crusty whole wheat bread,
pita, or crackers.
Yields: 6 servings
Nutrition Information per
serving: Calories – 216, Carbohydrates
– 27 grams, Fat
– 8 grams, Fiber – 4 grams,
Protein – 11 grams.
*Nutrition Tip: Vegetable
broth can be substituted
in any recipe that calls for
chicken or beef broth.
If you are using bouillon
cubes or powder, limit the
sodium content by using
only half as much as called
for on the label and adding
your own herbs and spices.