Winter is quickly approaching, and as the days get shorter, many people find themselves feeling sad. You might feel depressed around the winter holidays or get into a slump after the fun and festivities have ended. However, some people have more severe mood changes year after year, lasting throughout the fall and winter with less natural sunlight. There’s a name for it: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the clinical version of the winter blues.
What can you do to beat the blues when the short, dark days are getting you down? Read on for a few tips to help you during the fall and winter months.
1. Eat a healthy diet
You are what you eat. Eat a well balanced diet can help fight the winter blues. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains can boost your energy and are vital year-round. In addition, fruits and veggies of deep green or orange, like broccoli, kale, and carrots, have nutrients that promote better mood and total health.
2. Move Your Body
Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Bundle up for a walk, swim indoors, or head to the gym. Exercise can work, and antidepressants (drugs to control a person’s mood) fight mild-to-moderate depression.
3. Check your vitamin D levels
Sunlight is a source of vitamin D, a nutrient linked to sharper thinking and better emotional health. Check with your doctor about whether a vitamin D supplement is right for you.
4. Get some light therapy
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because your body can make it by using cholesterol and absorbing natural sunshine. Your mood may improve with as little as 10 minutes of sun exposure. Give yourself every opportunity for daylight, such as placing exercise equipment or your work area near a window. Lamps that simulate natural light can also help.
5. Stimulate your senses
Some people find that painting their walls a bright color — or even their nails — can improve their outlook. Likewise, scents can add to your feeling of well-being; try peppermint essential oil or some other energizing scent.
6. Nurture your spirit
Spending time to slow down and be with yourself. Find some time to mediate, breathe and find time for things you enjoy like reading, journaling, coloring. I know! Tap into your inner child and feed your soul.
7. Take some time off
If time and budget allow, plan a midwinter visit to a warmer, sunnier climate.
8. See a therapist
Regardless of your reason, therapy offers a broad array of benefits for all of us. A therapist can help you train your brain to think more positively, making you feel better physically.