The winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can have some of us feeling sad, tense, depressed, stressed, moody, and more. The days are shorter and darker, the weather is colder and the landscape is utterly dreary. For many, this Mother Nature funk lasts from November to April and can take a toll on our health. The winter blue struggles can affect our appetite, sleep pattern, energy lever and most significantly our moods. It can make your holiday season ho ho horrible! Here are a few tips to manage your melancholy and lift your spirit.
Get Out Into the Sun
While our days are significantly shorter, we do have healthy periods of sunshine. Our bodies are craving vitamin D and the best way to get it is to get outside and absorb the rays from above. Experts say that we need 10 – 30 minutes of midday sunlight exposure several times a week. Sunlight releases a hormone called serotonin, which makes us feel calm, focused and will enhance our moods.
Open the Drapes
Sitting in a gloomy dark room will only add to your misery. Pull back the drapes and let the sunshine pour in. Sit near a cheerful window and read while you soak in the warm rays.
A light therapy lamp or box has been used by many as an effective treatment to quash the winter blues. These lights emit 10,000 lux white light with filters to protect our eyes from UV rays. So what is the best way to use these therapy lamps effectively? You simply sit about 3 feet away from one for 20 – 60 minutes daily. Talk to your health care provider for more information about these beneficial lamps.
Exercise will benefit those dealing with SAD. Going for a walk, doing yoga or sweating it out in the gym allows your body to release feel-good chemicals called endorphins. They generate an overall positive feeling that can influence your mood, sleep pattern and self-esteem.
Eat a Healthy Diet
I think most of us acknowledge that junk food and processed food have a negative effect on our bodies and moods, especially with SAD. Switching to foods that can boost our moods seems logical. Some foods that will help boost our moods are spinach, lentils, bananas, brazil nuts, oats, flaxseed, quinoa, dark chocolate, and even water.
Color Me Happy
There is no mistake, colors significantly influence our emotions, attitude, demeanor, and social grace. Wearing colorful and cheerful colors can help you get into a happier mood. Dark colors like black, dark blue, deep brown and grey can make you feel bleak and depressed. Bright, refreshing colors evoke a positive reaction and make us feel so much better.
Take a Vacation
While most of us cannot uproot spontaneously and travel to a sunnier climate, there are those who can. Knowing how winter affects many people’s moods, could encourage us to book a vacation to a warmer, summery climate where the sun illuminates for many hours. You can usually get some fairly good deals between January and March.
Hobbies have enormous benefits. They can take you out of your rut, and expose you to some hidden talents. Hobbies relieve stress, improve mental health, improve creativity, and builds confidence and self-esteem.