Winter time is quickly approaching, and it is common for some people to experience what’s known as the “winter blues”. Medically named Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD), it’s caused in the colder weather and the lack of sunlight in the winter. According to webmd, lack of sunlight throws off the body’s circadian rhythm, which is responsible for the body’s sleep-wake cycle. While this disorder can affect numerous people yearly, there are some things you can do to help fight the winter blues. Here are my ways I like to fight it.
Get more excercise
As we all should know, exercise is one of the most powerful ways to help combat depression. A Harvard Health study shows that exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, the region that regulates mood. This helps relieve depression. Perhaps you’re not a fan of activities like lifting weights or running. You don’t have to do neither to experience the benefits of exercise. Going on a 20 minute walk daily can be enough to starve off the winter blues this winter.
Get in nature
According to another Harvard Study, being in nature is the simplest way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Being surrounded by greenery, and if possible sunlight, provides therapeutic benefits to the mind. Whether it’s at a park, or somewhere it the woods, being outdoors for 20-30 minutes a few times per week is great for combating the winter blues. Do you live in an area where it’s too cold outdoors? Consider light therapy as an alternative.
Eat a healthy diet
Food! Everyone loves food. It’s everyone’s go-to regardless of the mood they are in. There are some foods, however that can lead to depression. Eating the proper foods will be key to overcoming the blues this winter.
According to Cleveland clinic, dark leafy greens, nuts, low-fat yogurt, dark chocolate, and fruits are foods that can help you this winter. Foods high in fiber like potatoes whole grains help as well.
Getting Proper Rest
It’s common that the winter blues affects how much people sleep on a daily basis. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “People with depression may have trouble sleeping at night. They often have an excessive level of sleepiness during the day.”
To have a healthy sleep pattern, it’s important to follow a consistent sleep schedule, establish a relaxing setting at night, avoid caffeine, be in a dark cool room, and get up at the same time every morning.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Being able to deal with stress and relax during the upcoming winter blues will be important to overcoming it. A few things I enjoy doing that’s helps me relax is meditation, singing, journaling, writing poetry, dancing, watching comedy, and listening to music. Other activities like yoga can help fight off the winter blues as well. Find activities that you enjoy and helps you relax. Be sure to do them often.
This is one of my favorite ways to beat the winter blues. Giving time to help those less fortunate has endless rewards. According to the Cleveland clinic, “Health benefits with giving can include: Lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, less depression, lower stress levels, longer life, greater happiness and satisfaction.”
During the winter time comes Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. These holidays are the perfect time to volunteer. Whether it’s at your local food bank, homeless shelter, school, or church, volunteer your time to uplift your spirits during the winter blues.
People are designed to interact with other people. Whether it’s being with your friends/family, meeting new people, or reconnecting with people you haven’t seen in a while, the winter holidays is a great time to interact with people. According to Psychology Today, “The mental health benefits of regular face to face interactions-especially among older adults-can reduce the risk of depression.” Use the holiday season to have more face to face interactions with people and overcome the winter depression.