by Jill Jewett
It is no surprise that you may be feeling a little more upset, or “blue” during the winter months. Do not fear! This is a common feeling affecting about 5% of Americans for about 40% of the year. Although this is a very uncomfortable time, there are many ways to make your seasons a little brighter.
- Keep Active
All year it is important to try to maintain some activity, but it’s even more important during winter! It is recommended that people get an hour or more of physical activity a day. Exercising releases endorphins and dopamine, which are known to improve moods!
- Get Good Sleep
Yes. You probably have heard this many times before. However, it is very important to make sure you are saving enough time in the day to prioritize yourself, especially your sleep schedule. Insomnia is known for giving those who suffer from it anxiety, battling seasonal depression on top of insomnia with anxiety is a recipe for disaster.
- Give Back
It is not a surprise that human behavior is motivated by the search for purpose in your life. So when you’re feeling down, try giving back. Learn about where you can volunteer in your community, and try to keep in touch with your community.
- Use a Light Lamp
A light lamp, also known as a light therapy box, is a box that mimics a light the same as light from the outdoors. This can be a beneficial purchase because the body craves outside, and bright light, especially when it gets darker earlier in the winter.
- Take Vitamins
Always reach out to your healthcare physician before taking any sort of vitamin. During the winter months, our body craves more vitamin D, something we get from the sun, especially during summer. Vitamin D does come in capsule form and is beneficial for your body as it lacks this vitamin with little amount of sun.
- Outside Time
I will be the first person to admit that I hate the cold! I dislike being outside when it’s cold, wet, and snowy. However, forcing yourself outside for at least an hour during the day can boost your mood and energy, especially during these winter months.
It is always a good idea to laugh even during these cold months, when you may find nothing funny. Laughing can brighten your mood and release some stress. Perhaps crack a few jokes with a friend, or go to a comedy club, or you can even watch your favorite comedic movie.
- Hangout With Those You Love
Seclusion is one of the leading effects of seasonal depression. It’s known that people tend to isolate themselves when they feel down. However, do not let these bad feelings stop you from hanging out with people you enjoy being around. Try to see a friend or have some well-deserved family time.
One of the best ways you can help yourself fight seasonal depression is to prepare for it. If you know that you struggle during the winter, find out things you can do to beat it during the fall. Feel these emotions, and let them go. Understand that this time is hard on everybody!
- Stick to a Schedule
As mentioned before, you may find yourself struggling to sleep during this time, maintaining a regular schedule can help you maintain a sleep schedule. Although your life may not change when winter hits, you start to feel different. Perhaps you start giving yourself more time to get ready in the morning, or you sleep for a little bit longer. Changing your schedule in the winter is a normal thing to do!
- Keep a Journal
If you aren’t the kind of person who likes to talk about your feelings, try writing them down in a journal. It’s recommended that you make this journal something you like, maybe a color you like or a nice print. Your journal doesn’t have to make sense, and you don’t have to let anybody read it. Getting these feelings out may help you find your clarity.
- Reach out to a Healthcare Professional
Perhaps you’ve tried all of these tasks, and you just can’t seem to get out of your slump. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor, make sure to tell them exactly how you’re feeling!
- Give Yourself a Break
There can be a lot of stress during these cold months, and adding seasonal depression on top of that doesn’t help anybody. Remember that you also need a break, take a day off, and watch a show you like. Or even just lay in bed all day. It’s important to remember your own needs, especially if you are mentally struggling.
- Be Realistic
Alongside giving yourself some lee-way, you have to be real with yourself. You are not going to feel amazing every day, and that is okay! Everybody has their struggles, and many other people suffer from the winter blues. You may not remember to journal every day, or take your vitamin D, don’t beat yourself up for simply being a person.