Those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) aren't the only ones who suffer from cold weather, less sunlight, and shorter days. Almost 1 in 4 Americans experience some sort of winter depression, here are a few methods to beat those winter blues.
Brighten up your life
We need our daily dose of sunshine to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and exposure early in the day stimulates our body’s production of serotonin. Luckily if you experience dreary weather more often then not, sitting next to a light box or artificial light is proven to be as effective as anti-depressants. Moving curtains, blinds, and sitting closer to windows can also boost your sunshine intake.
Those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that begins in the late fall to early winter and fades as the weather improves, tend to feel irritable, depressed, and may have trouble waking up in the morning. Dawn simulators serve as an excellent antidepressant and can make it easier to get out of bed.
As the temperatures begin to drop, hibernation can sound tempting but the colder months are actually the perfect time to be active. It can help you get the most out of your workout and may improve your immune system, curb cravings, and release endorphins which ultimately improves your mood. It’s recommended that walking for 35 minutes a day five days a week improves symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Use as much natural sunshine as you can when exercising to increase mental health and depressive symptoms.
Eat foods to boost your mood
Even though cookies and cocoa can offer a happy boost at first, consuming too much sugar can functionally change your brain and slow it down, so it’s recommended to limit your sugar intake – especially during the colder months. Give your body the nutrients it craves while experimenting with hearty ingredients such as pumpkin, squash, eggplant, and sweet potatoes. Most of these ingredients are inexpensive and are perfect for plan-ahead meals.
Wear exciting colors
Even though it’s easier to hide those few extra pounds of holiday feasting under dark clothing, wearing bright colors during the colder months has been proven to enhance your mood, mental health, and decrease depressive symptoms. It links to the term “fake it ‘til you make it” – if you wear clothing that resembles gloomy weather, you are more likely to experience depressive emotions. The coziest accessory guaranteed to brighten any gloomy day is our Luxe slipper in Cranberry. With its luxurious shearling cuff combined with its funky vibrant color, this delightful slipper will keep you warm while fighting off those winter blues.
Listen to music
From tiredness to sadness, music has been used for years to help sooth many problems. Specifically, listening to upbeat music has been proven to significantly improve your long-term and short-term mood.
Stock up on Vitamin D
Since most of our vitamin D is from the sun, it’s beneficial to take vitamin D supplements during the winter months - especially if you live somewhere particularly gloomy. Many diseases are correlated with low levels of vitamin D, especially depression.
Start something new
In the process of learning, our neurons become wired together, which means it takes less effort for them to communicate. Take advantage of your indoor days and pick up a new hobby like crochet, or finally learn how to play poker.
Surround yourself with positive people
Weather its chatting over a cup of coffee or cuddling up by the fire, we are typically more prone to stay indoors and spend time with others during the winter. Keep your social circle full of people that motivate and inspire you to lead a positive life.
Embrace the winter
Even when temperatures are less than ideal, spending some time outdoors can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels. Involve yourself in outdoor activities such as skiing, ice skating, or even snowshoeing and soon find your mood improving as you become more energized throughout the day.
Real Simple: 8 Scientifically backed ways to beat the winter blues https://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/emotional-health/winter-blues
WebMD: Beating Winters Woes https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/beating-winters-woes#1
Everyday Health: 10 Ways to Fight off the Winter Blues https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/ways-fight-off-winter-blues/