The winter months are a struggle for a lot of people, but if you’re feeling blue more than usual, it might be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that comes on during colder times of year. In any given year about 5% of the United States population experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder. 4 out of 5 people that experience SAD are women. Fortunately, there are ways to combat SAD and bring some happiness back into your life.
Make friends with the sun
The number one way to combat SAD is to get outside. Remember that the sun isn’t just a source of light; it’s also a source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and strengthens bones. Getting out in the sun every day can help you feel more energetic and positive. Make sure that you’re getting at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight exposure during daylight hours (though more is always better).
If you live in an area that lacks sufficient sunlight during the winter months, consider using a light box or taking vitamin D supplements. Doctors will usually recommend this for people without access to consistent natural light.
Also, try making friends with some nice plants; they will give off lots of oxygen which will also help improve your mood.
Don’t let the winter blues get you down
Winter, and colder weather months in general, we tend to turn inward and slow down. We have a few tips on how to keep moving and not let the winter blues get you down.
- Take advantage of the winter to get organized. It’s a great time to spend some time cleaning and organizing your home, which will leave you feeling accomplished and ready for springtime!
- Get out of the house and socialize. You don’t want to feel cooped up in the house all day. Try getting outside and going for walks. If it’s too cold, or the weather isn’t cooperating, have friends over for a meal or have a game night.
- Take time to relax and unwind. If there are certain things that stress or upset you during this time of year, try to take time to breathe and relax. Just a few quick breaths go a long way to relieving stress.
Exercise and eat right
We are big proponents of exercising to improve your mental health. So it comes as no surprise that exercise is one of our biggest recommendations. Pair that with eating healthy and you have a winning combination to fight off SAD.
- Exercise can help you sleep better, which can make your mood better.
- Eating well can help your mood. Try to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat whole grains, lean protein sources (like fish or chicken), and healthy fats (like olive oil).
- Try exercising for 30 minutes a day if possible. You can do this in three 10-minute sessions throughout the day or all at once—it doesn’t matter as long as you get to 30 minutes. Some good exercises include yoga, walking outside in nature, strength training with dumbbells or resistance bands, biking on flat ground at low intensity, swimming laps in an indoor pool.
- If it’s too cold outside, find ways to exercise indoors. You can use video workouts and turn your living room into your home gym. If you can get out, join or start a mall walking group or join a gym.
Be productive and stay connected
One of the best ways to stay productive during the winter is to get out of your house and change your environment, even for short periods of time. You can go to a coffee shop or bar, read a book or listen to music, find new hobbies, and so on.
Be sure not to isolate yourself from friends and family. It becomes all too easy to disconnect and pull away. Being alone for long periods of time without human contact only serves to make you feel worse. Get out and socialize.
Carencia Can Help
Winter can be a very difficult time of year. If you think that you, or someone you know, is feeling down this winter, give some of our tips a try. If you think it’s something more, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone. Medication and therapy may be the answer you’re looking for.
Always remember, you are not alone.
At Carencia, we understand SAD and other mood disorders and can help. Fill out the New Patient form and we’ll contact you about how we can help you heal.