Winter Depression Got You Down? Here’s What To Do To Feel Better
Winter depression is a thing. Winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern that often begins in the fall and lasts until the spring. As the days become shorter and colder, the loss of sunlight might leave you feeling melancholy and devoid of energy. You may also notice changes in your sleeping and eating habits, as well as a stronger desire to isolate.
You are not alone if you suffer from winter blues due to gray skies, cold weather, and shorter days. Exhaustion, depression, difficulty concentrating, and a change in your sleep cycle are prevalent throughout the winter season. Here are some ideas to help you beat the winter blues.
1. Look For The Light
The main reason for winter depression is a lack of sunlight. You don’t receive enough direct sun exposure while you spend the winter months holed up indoors. Attempt to get outside, even if the weather is frigid. Wrap up warm and spend each day in the sun. Because of the shorter days in winter, you may want to take a few minutes to go for a stroll outside during your lunch break. Weekends should also be used to exercise or play out in the sun.
While there is less time and opportunity to enjoy natural sunlight during the winter months, there are still ways to get the essential light. Artificial sunshine boxes are made of fluorescent tubes that mimic the effects of natural sunlight. You can prevent seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues by spending 30 minutes in front of a light box first thing in the morning. If you’re interested in light therapy, here’s a great post to read.
2. Move Your Body
When people think of movement, they frequently envision a sweat-inducing gym session. In contrast, there is no one-size-fits-all technique, and exercise can take numerous forms. Concentrating on tasks that make us feel good can help us relieve stress, improve our mood, and provide us with extra energy. Make an effort to set frequent and realistic goals for yourself during the winter months.
You may, for example, commit to going for a 10-minute walk during the day, attending one fitness class each week, or scheduling a weekend hike with friends. Invite a friend or roommate to join you if you need more motivation. Having a workout buddy might help you stay motivated and make physical activity more enjoyable.
3. Spend Time With Other People
Social connection has long been recognized as a protective factor against all types of depression and a factor in lowering blood pressure and stress hormone levels. Meet a friend or relative for a socially distanced walk if feasible – don’t forget to dress warmly! While you may not see your loved ones in person, you can still communicate with them.
Why not get in touch with them or write them a letter? You might want to gather a group for a humorous video call. Volunteering has been demonstrated to boost one’s mental health in general. Look into volunteer opportunities in your region if they are available. It could be a great way to give back and connect with others.
4. Improve Your Mood With Food
Consider your diet as a simple strategy to boost your mood. Consuming protein for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can help you enhance your mood and reduce sugar and carb cravings later in the day. A well-balanced diet will help you avoid harmful habits like bingeing on alcohol, skipping meals, or overeating junk food.
Adding vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish and fish oil and vitamin D-fortified foods like milk, orange juice, breakfast cereal, and yogurt can also help maintain a good mood. Vitamin D deficiency is frequent in people with SAD, caused by a lack of sunlight exposure or inadequate dietary consumption.
5. Seek Professional Help
If your symptoms intensify or last for more than two weeks, it may be time to seek additional help. Because SAD is a kind of depression, it must be diagnosed by a mental health professional. Several screening questions can be used to determine whether or not someone is depressed. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you have SAD or another type of depression.
Counselors are available in-person and online to provide guidance, answers, and information about additional academic services, stress, anxiety, substance use, and relationships, among other subjects. Coaches can also help you establish a strategy for dealing with stress, time management, academics, sleep, and relationships, among other things.
Winter blues can be harmful to both your physical and emotional wellbeing. A lack of sunlight, for some people, affects the body’s ability to keep its complex chemistry and biological rhythms in sync; the body loses its ability to determine when to be active and when to rest. While you cannot control the season, you may make choices to help lessen depressive symptoms with these tips.
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