If you’ve been experiencing any mood shifts or low energy levels this season, you’re not alone. With winter comes cold temperatures that keeps you indoors all day and gloomy, short days with sunsets occurring as early as 4:30 pm. “Winter blues” often called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is fairly common and affects many people during the wintertime. So what can you do about it? Luckily most SAD symptoms do go away on their own with the changing seasons, however there are some scientifically proven ways to make things easier and help you get through these times.
Below, we listed some suggestions to lift your spirits and help you beat the winter blues:
Go for a walk
A relaxing short walk can do wonders for elevating your mood. It’s a stress reliever and a great way to clear your mind. Bundle up in layers and brave the cold weather for a few minutes each day to get some fresh air and sunlight; We recommend stepping out in the mornings or midday when the sun is at its peak.
Use a light therapy lamp
If you don’t go out often or don’t get enough natural sunlight at home, using a light therapy lamp is great at compensating for the lack of exposure to sunlight. Light therapy lamps emit bright light that mimics the sun’s rays to help trigger your brain to release serotonin, otherwise known as the “feel-good” hormone. Finding a device that delivers at least 10,000 lux and sitting in front of it for 20-30 minutes each morning will yield maximum benefits.
Load up on Vitamin D
Vitamin D has many important functions such as maintaining healthy bones, a healthy heart, and regulating serotonin and dopamine levels in your body. Your body absorbs vitamin D by sun exposure, which may decrease dramatically during the wintertime. Research showed low levels of vitamin D are linked to a higher risk of SAD. Consult a healthcare professional to check your levels for any deficiencies and if so, consider taking supplements or loading up on foods that are fortified with vitamin D.
Stick to a routine
Staying consistent to a routine can be beneficial for reducing stress and feeling in control of your life. However a routine doesn’t have to be rigid and can consist of steady exercise, healthy eating habits, prioritizing your workload, socialization, and generally taking care of oneself. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is also important for regulating your mood and reducing feelings of fatigue.
Reach out to people
Research showed that simply talking to others can make people happy. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family members, friends, or licensed therapists to talk about your thoughts, feelings, and problems. Communication is a super effective and healthy way to feel connected with others, handle your emotions, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Do something that brings you joy
Setting aside a little time everyday to do the things you love can be an immense mood booster. This can include any activity from drinking your favorite cup of tea, cozying up and watching a movie in bed, reading a book, taking a warm bath, partaking in your favorite hobby, etc. These small joyful moments in your daily lives can brighten your days in a big way.