The winter months tend to bring a slew of unpleasant things. The car door is frozen, the sun goes down by 5pm, my fingers are numb, I’m not very happy.
Turns out I am not the only one who isn’t a fan of winter. Around this time of year it’s common for people to feel the symptoms of something called the winter blues. The winter blues is characterized by a lack of energy, difficultly waking up, overeating and withdrawal from friends and family. The technical term for the winter blues is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a mood disorder caused by sunlight deprivation. SAD leaves a person feeling hopeless and depressed without any outwardly apparent reason. Although it can be difficult to get through, all hope isn’t lost when dealing with the winter blues. Here are some tips to turning your mood around and making the most of this winter.
-Light it up
Try to expose yourself to sunlight as much as you can in the winter. Our bodies need sunlight in order to produce Vitamin D and fuel the production of serotonin which helps regulate mood. If you’re stuck inside all day then sit by a window, do whatever you can to get out of the dark. Replace your regular light bulbs with full-spectrum bulbs that are a minimum of 2,500 lux, which feel similar to natural sunlight. These can be purchased at your local hardware store. Also if you have trouble waking up in the morning try putting your lights on a timer and having them turn on 30 minutes before you’re supposed to be awake.
Here’s another great reason to hit the gym; exercising raises serotonin levels which improves your mood. People who workout regularly tend to be calmer and be more positive. Try to commit to at least 30 minutes a day to being active. Once you get those endorphins going you’ll quit being bummed.
-Get your mind right
If you go into winter dreading it then its hard to appreciate all the good things about it. To help conquer the winter blues it’s important to accept winter for what it is and find ways to look forward to it. Adapt a winter hobby such as snowboarding or even plan a fun trip with your friends. Meditate. Set goals you can work on all winter long and reward yourself when those goals are met. Read and look at things that inspire you. Immerse yourself in things that make you happy and if you’re unsure about what makes you happen then dabble until you land on something great.