7 Tips To Battle The Upcoming Winter Blues
Winter depression, also called as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can be quite a challenge for a lot of people. Shorter days, colder weather, and fewer sunlight hours can lead to a dip in our mood, energy, and overall well-being.
But don't let winter's grip get you down; nature has provided us with a lot of different ways to fight this particular illness. Dive into this article to explore all the different natural ways in which you can keep the winter blues at bay.
What Is Winter Depression?
Winter depression, or SAD (very apt name, don't you think?), is a type of depression that tends to occur during the colder, darker months. The main reason - lack of sunlight.
It's believed that the lack of sunlight alters our body's internal clock and reduces the levels of serotonin (a brain chemical affecting mood).
When less serotonin is produced in the body, it affects our sleep patterns and general mood, thus giving rise to what is called the winter depression.
Fun Fact: The concept of winter depression and its ties to light was noted even as early as during the ancient Greeks and Roman civilizations. Yet, it wasn't officially recognized until the 1980s, when it was systematically reported by the American psychiatrist Norman E. Rosenthal.
7 Ways to Fight Winter Depression Naturally
If you think you might be suffering from winter depression, not all is lost - there are 7 natural ways in which you can combat the effects of this particular mood disorder and start to feel better.
1. Light Therapy
Light therapy is a proven method to counteract the gloomy winter months, especially when sunlight is scarce. The technique involves using a specialized 'lightbox' that emits a bright light, replicating natural sunlight.
By sitting near this box for about 30 minutes every morning, you can simulate the experience of a sunny day, effectively tricking your brain into a more summery mood.
Here are some wonderful lightboxes you can try out: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-light-therapy-lamp/.
2. Stay Active
The cold weather might tempt you to stay indoors, wrapped up cozy and warm. However, physical activity is a surefire way to help you with the blue.
Exercise releases endorphins, our body's natural mood boosters, which can help combat feelings of sadness or lethargy.
Try opting for brisk walks in the morning, or even indoor activities like yoga, dancing, or a gym workout.
3. Eat Right
Diet is very important when it comes to deciding our mood. You might notice that during winters, you're suddenly craving carb-heavy comfort foods. However, it's important to strike a balance.
Ensuring your diet includes fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help maintain energy levels and mood stability. Some great foods to include during this time are fish, walnuts and flaxseeds.
4. Connect with Nature
There's something so soothing about nature, even during the chills of winter. Engaging in outdoor activities, even simple ones, can offer a fresh perspective and a break from indoor monotony.
If you're up for an adventure, consider winter-specific activities like skiing, snowshoeing, or ice-skating.
However, if you're seeking something more calming, a peaceful walk observing the snow-covered trees and the stillness around can be equally therapeutic.
Winter can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation, with the cold and early darkness discouraging social outings.
During this time, interacting with loved ones or even acquaintances can provide a sense of belonging and warmth, countering the cold environment.
Regularly schedule meetups with friends or family, whether it's a casual coffee date, a group activity, or simply a chat over the phone.
6. Mindfulness and Meditation
You don't always need to go out in order to feel better. Sometimes, looking inwards is the answer. Practices like mindfulness and meditation not only help manage stress but also enhance self-awareness.
Daily practice, even if just for a few minutes, can make a significant difference. Guided meditation apps or local group sessions can assist you if you're a beginner.
Scents have a profound effect on our mood. Essential oils like lavender, jasmine, and citrus evoke feelings of happiness, relaxation, and energy.
Try diffusing these oils in your room or burning scented candles. This can elevate the ambiance of your home.
Opt for scents that resonate with you personally. Over time, these fragrances can act as anchors, immediately inducing a sense of well-being whenever you encounter them.
Winter blues can be tough, but we hope this article has given you the power to push it back. With these natural tips by your side, you've got this!
Just remember, each chilly day is a step closer to spring. So, while we're waiting, let's make the most of it, find our sunshine, and share a little warmth. Stay bright and keep going!