When the days get shorter, the weather colder and the sun seems to take a vacation – you may feel a sudden shift in mood. If the winter season has you feeling down, you might be experiencing something known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Symptoms typically include feelings of depression, low energy and social withdrawal. The winter blues can be a hard thing to shake. Find out how you can help beat seasonal depression and bring some “light” back into your days.
Start a Project
When you haven’t seen the sun in days, the weather may start to reflect how you feel inside. Having nothing to do leaves a lot of time for the mind to fixate on negative thoughts. If you find yourself getting anxious, distract yourself. Pick a project that will keep you so busy that you forget about and the thoughts that were weighing you down. Organize your closet, learn to play a new instrument or try cooking a new dish. A busy mind doesn’t have time to think of reasons to feel down.
If you are having a rough day or week – treat yourself. Everyone deserves a little pampering here and there. Go shopping fora new outfit, get a haircut or have a spa day. Do the things that make you feel instantly good, and feel the difference it makes. Self-care is vital when it comes to fighting off SAD. When you feel good on the outside, it can help improve how you feel on the inside (or vice versa).
Some simple workout routines can help keep your energy high and mood lifted. Instead of sleeping in, do something active that gets your blood flowing. By engaging in regular exercise, you can help your brain produce endorphins, the natural chemical that helps to fight off depression. Endorphins can lead to feelings of euphoria immediately following exercise. Not to mention, it can produce lasting positive effects like a boost in self-esteem and a decrease in stress. Just what the doctor ordered.
Music has a way of speaking to the soul. Uplift yours by playing some upbeat songs from your favorite artists. Consider putting the tear-jerking ballots from Adele and Sam Smith on pause for the winter. Instead,create a playlist with feel-good songs that put a smile on your face. Research has shown that music can greatly affect your mood. One study even went as far as to say that music not only impacts your mood, but transforms the way you see the world. You might not be able to change what the weather looks like, but you can change your tune by playing upbeat music.
Spend Time with Friends
Depression can isolate you. If you aren’t feeling like your best self, you might start avoiding social gatherings and spending less time with your friends. That said, human contact may just be the thing you need the most. Laughing with friends is the best medicine for ridding of the blues. As it turns out,your brain is wired to react positively to laughter. So, call your favorite people and laugh your worries away.
Take a Vacation
When the weather is getting you down, migrate to warmer places. Book a trip to an area where the sun always seems to be shining and get some much-needed Vitamin D. Even a quick getaway can help warm your spirit and break up the long winter months. Bathe yourself in the sunshine and feel the dark clouds looming over your head, burn away.
Seasonal depression can get the best of even the most positive people. Luckily, there are numerous, simple methods that can help you combat it. However you choose to de-stress this season, just remember that you’re never alone (no matter what a Sam Smith song might tell you).