Empowerment Blogging

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

When the temperatures drop and the days get shorter some people feel a huge swing in their mood and over all happiness. People often coin this feeling with the term, “Winter Blues”. For some people these feeling can mean more and have been diagnosed with Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I understand all to well the differences in the two and acknowledge the changes that the winter season can bring.

For me my mood and feeling changes start to occur in the autumn of the year when the days gets shorter. The beautiful colors of autumn make me smile, but once the leaves fall and the trees are bare I feel a change coming on. It can be hard for someone that hasn’t experienced SAD symptoms to understand the difference between SAD and depression.

Symptoms of SAD can include not feeling energetic, wanting to sleep more, appetite changes (craving carbs) and weight gain. For those that already suffer with mental issues like bipolar disorder my have an extremely hard time with SAD. If your SAD symptoms aren’t sever there are effective ways to manage SAD or curb the “Winter Blues”.

Stay Active

Often time when the days are shorter we may feel we have less time to get things done during the day. During the spring and summer some people tend to go outside more. Some people participate in gardening or outdoor activities that come with warmer weather. A change in activities due to the change in seasons can be depressing in itself.

If gardening is your summer hobby there and plenty of things to grow in the winter too like cabbage and collards.

Finding new activities to do to replace activities that can’t be done in the colder weather or dark days can be helpful to curbing feelings of sadness. For example, if gardening is a hobby there are many options of plants that can grow in the winter to make it a year long hobby. If going for a run or walk after work isn’t an option due to the dark perhaps think about joining a gym to use a treadmill or try a new workout at home.

Get Your Vitamin D

Lack of sunshine is often noted as a main cause for feeling moody during winter months. Make it a priority to get outside and get some sunshine. Go for a walk on your lunch break, open up the blinds or move your workspace into a naturally lighted room if you can. Sunshine can also, be replaced with light therapy to help facilitate a happier mood. I personally like using a salt rock which emits negative ions. By admitting negative ions salt rocks help to restore air quality. Using a salt rock is simple and I feel it helped improve my immunity and mood as well.

Lack of sunshine is often noted as a main cause for feeling moody during winter months. Make it a priority to get outside and get some sunshine.

Salt rocks are available for purchase on Amazon and at many retailers. There are also, other types of lights for home use and purchase that offer UV-free light therapy. There are facilities one can visit that offer a variety of light therapy treatments as well. Finding a location to go outside the home may be a good fit instead of buying a light to use at home.

Spend Time with Friends and Family

In the summer we often spend time at cookouts and the beach with our family and friends. During the holiday season some people keep busy and also, may spend time with friends or family. Make sure that even after the holidays are over you are still interacting with friends and family even if it’s virtually. A cold walk on the beach can also, be invigorating.

Find time to grab some coffee or a meal with friends and family to unwind. Laughter is some of the best medicine and time spent with friends and family always seems to be good for me. Try unplugging from social media and having real life connections when you’re feeling down.

Self Care

When holiday time is over and January sets in it you may also, feel drained from the holidays. Winter is a good time to read a book you’ve been thinking about. Run a hot bubble bath, give yourself a facial or a pedicure and enjoy a relaxing at home spa day.

Whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed allow yourself extra time of it when you’re feeling down. Stress can lead to other health issues and you should try to illuminate it from your life. We can’t pour from a half full cup and need to be 100%. Allowing yourself time to meditate and be mindful can help with this.

Set Boundaries

If the winter season makes you feel moody or depressed mixing that with things that already cause you stress may magnify your feelings. Developing a plan of how to deal with your feelings and making decisions that make a positive impact on your overall happiness is essential. It is ok to set boundaries if they help you to feel less anxious and keep people from taking advantage of you.

Boundaries though often not talked about are also, an important part of our own mental health and should be respected. I know I wish I would have understood the necessity of boundaries earlier in my life and held people more accountable for their actions. Remember you do not ever have to tolerate things you don’t want to.

By implementing one or more of these ideas in your routine it may help you to relieve symptoms of SAD or feelings of moodiness from the change in seasons. I am not a medical Dr and offer these ideas only as a suggesting based on what has worked for me personally to chase away SAD. I’m counting down the days to spring and the long days of summer.

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