While many of us associate winter with holidays and festive gatherings, there’s another side that others experience. “Winter blues” also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a real problem that affects a lot of people during the winter months. There are many reasons for experiencing sadness during winter, ranging from darker, shorter days to feelings of loneliness due to lack of family gatherings. Either way, you may find you need to take extra special care of your mental health during the winter. Here are a few tips for getting through those darker, colder days.
Stay Active & Get Outside
First and foremost, staying active during winter should be a top priority. Even though days are colder and less enticing it’s important to get outside and get exercise. It can be easy to coop up and watch Netflix, but this will only make your blues worse. Instead find a fun outdoor activity like skiing or ice skating or if the weather is too extreme, find a new fitness class you enjoy. Whatever you do, stay active!
Set New Goals
While this may seem like a bad time to embark on new ventures, it may be just the treatment you need. We often become depressed due to feeling a lack of purpose or direction in life. By pushing forward and setting some new exciting goals for yourself you may find more optimism and purpose in your life. So whip out that notebook and start writing out all the things you want to do in the future.
One of the best ways to feel better is to step out of ourselves and help others. Whether that’s volunteering at a local soup kitchen, donating to a worthy cause or simply reaching out to someone who needs a helping hand, when we take the focus off our own lives and problems and exert energy toward others, it can be incredibly therapeutic. Try it!
Get A Sun Lamp
Sun lamps help mimic daylight and have been shown in studies to relieve symptoms of depression. Known as “light therapy” these lamps contain special bulbs that help stimulate serotonin and Vitamin D production, both essential to regulating your mood.
Check Your Nutrition
During the winter you may notice you have less energy. This can be caused by several factors including expending more energy to stay warm and lack of sunshine, so it’s important to stay on top of your nutrition in case you are low on nutrients such as Vitamin D or iron, which can lower in the winter.
Take a Warm Vacation
Escape the cold and take a nice, warm, sunny vacation! Places like Florida, Southern California and the Caribbean over year around sunshine that is much needed. So go ahead and plan that vacation. You NEED it for your health.