Cold weather gotcha feeling down and out? If this winter has you feeling under the weather, you’re not alone. Many of us battle the blues during these months and there are lots of reasons for this.
For one, it’s hard to get enough Vitamin D naturally when the sun isn’t shining, and low levels of D directly correlate with depression. It also probably sounds a lot better to simply stay in and cozy up near a fireplace in sweatpants than do anything outside of the house.
So, we’re less likely to engage in stimulating social activities.
For those on daylight savings time, the days get shorter and we’re confronted with more darkness. And sinus sufferers may notice a flare-up of symptoms, including headaches and fatigue when the sun stops shining.
For all of these reasons and many more, winter can be tough, and there is actually a clinical version of the winter blues called seasonal affective disorder (or SAD for short). So, how can you combat this?
Stock up on supplements. It’s less likely you’ll be able to get your Vitamin D naturally this time of year since this good-for-you nutrient comes largely from the sun, so make sure to incorporate it into your diet by picking up the supplement version or adding some foods rich in D, such as tuna, salmon, milk, and eggs. This will help you combat lulls in your mood and feel more energetic while you wait for the sun to return.
Get some (fake) sun. Bright light therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for SAD. Some health clubs offer light box rooms where you can go sit in front of the rays if you can’t afford to take one home.
You’ll want to use the box approximately 30 to 60 minutes each day, and most people get the best results when they visit the box in the morning. These boxes will filter out most, if not all, UV light, so they are safe and effective, and a great alternative to natural light.
Add some laughter to your routine. Yes, it sounds silly, but laughter really is the best medicine.
So, stock up on your favorite comedy films and have a movie marathon with friends. Or head out to the theater and watch a flick on the big screen. You can also opt to start an uplifting book or get hooked on a light-hearted podcast that’s sure to keep you smiling.
Adding some entertainment into your schedule will encourage those feel-good endorphins to kick in. Socializing with those you care about will also up your serotonin levels, making you feel better instantly. You don’t have to be left out in the cold when you don’t want to go out in the cold. There is plenty to do with friends and family indoors.
Sweat a little. Speaking of feel-good endorphins, kick yours into high gear by engaging in some indoor exercise, such as running on a treadmill or starting a yoga routine. Exercise will naturally get your happy juices flowing and give you the energy to take on the day, no matter how dreary the weather may be. There is plenty you can do inside, so you don’t have to worry about braving the cold.
Put on some brighter colors. There is something psychologically stimulating about wearing vibrant colors such as yellow, red, pink or green. This is precisely why toy and candy makers have long-incorporated these hues into their products. The eye is naturally drawn to them. Sporting some bold wares could actually lift your mood, and probably those of everyone else around you.
Sit beside the fire. And sip a cappuccino, mocha or cup of tea. Warming up by the flames with a bit of caffeine will increase serotonin levels and allow you to liven up a bit. Allow your thoughts to wander and daydream for a spell.
When it’s far too cold to wander outside, your best option is to stay well-insulated inside, anyway. You can even open a book and relax. Practicing some self-care is a great way to battle the blues.
There are many ways in which you can combat the winter blues and make it safely to the other side when the sun begins to shine again. Remember, the lethargy is only temporary. Keep yourself motivated and hang in there. This too shall pass!