Janine Delaney, PhD
If you’re like me and you live in a cold weather environment, you may find yourself suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as the winter blues. It usually starts to kick in during the fall and all through winter. We all know that sunny summer days and warm weather can improve your mood, so it makes sense that cooler weather and shorter days can have a negative impact on your mental health.
Below Are Some Proven Tips That Will Help You Boost Your Mood And Lift Your Spirits This Winter
No surprise here I’m mentioning regular exercise! But really… when you exercise, endorphins are released into your body. They’re chemicals that help lift your spirits and give you energy. Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? Well this is the same concept. So even though you feel like being a couch potato. Don’t do it! Get up and get moving.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
One of the easiest ways to cope with your winter depression is to let daylight into your house whenever you can. Open your drapes and sit by the window when you are reading or talking on the phone. Another idea is to keep the blinds in your bedroom slightly opened so you can begin to wake with the natural rhythm of the season. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the daylight when it’s available.
GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS
Don’t just plop yourself on your couch and watch endless hours of TV when you’re feeling down. We’ve all been there, I get it, but this will only make you feel worse. Instead of hibernating, aim to get out of the house and do something with a friend at least once a week. Even meeting them for a cup of coffee could lift your spirits.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Me time isn’t just about being alone. It’s a time for you to do something you enjoy because you enjoy it and because you deserve it. Do something that makes you happy. Maybe it’s taking a long hot bath or maybe it’s getting a massage or reading a good book. Whatever it is, do it and feel your body and mind rejuvenate.
It’s tempting to stay indoors during frigid temperatures, but taking a quick walk or building a snowman with the family will do wonders for you. Our bodies crave natural sunlight, specifically vitamin D. If you can’t get outside, make sure you are getting your vitamin D dose with supplements.
DON’T TURN TO COMFORT FOODS
Turning to comfort foods will not make you feel better. It’s a temporary fix that will lead to bad eating habits. I know it’s tempting, but avoid filling yourself with large amounts of carbohydrates. They will only make you feel more sluggish. Instead, find a few healthy alternatives that you really enjoy and use them as your feel-better foods. One of mine is baked sweet potato. It gives me the warmth and comfort I need without playing havoc on my body.
PLAN A TRIP
There’s no better time or excuse to go on that vacation you’ve been thinking about than in the winter. Head to a warm-weather location so you can soak up the sun and engage in some warm-weather sports like swimming or snorkeling. Planning a trip also gives you something to look forward and will bring you some excitement.
It’s natural to get a little down during this time of year, but if you make an effort to add some of these tips into your routine, the cold won’t have an overpowering effect on your mood, and you’ll leave the winter feeling stronger and happier.