The winter blues can be a difficult time of year, but there are several things you can do to find relief from seasonal depression. From perusing new mattresses to indulging in retail therapy and getting outdoors, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for overcoming seasonal depression. We’ll provide an overview of some simple, actionable tips anyone can take to reduce their winter blues symptoms and boost their overall mood.
What Is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year. It’s usually triggered by shorter days and less sunlight exposure during winter. Symptoms of SAD can include feeling hopeless, sluggish and unmotivated; having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much; craving carbohydrates and sugar-rich foods; struggling with concentration and focus and losing interest in activities.
While SAD is more common in northern climates with longer winters, it can affect people worldwide regardless of geography. Fortunately, plenty of treatments available, ranging from light therapy to lifestyle changes, are designed to help those affected manage their symptoms.
Strategies for Beating Your SAD Symptoms
1) Building a Healthy Daily Routine
Creating a sustainable schedule that includes sleeping and waking at the same time each day is an essential part of creating balance. This consistency helps to regulate our circadian rhythm. It feeds into other healthful habits, such as eating at reasonable times and making time for physical exercise or leisure activities. In addition, making time in your daily routine to do things you enjoy can provide pleasure and lead to greater feelings of accomplishment and worth.
2) Get Outside
Spending time outside is an excellent way to counter the effects of seasonal depression. Even if it’s cold, wrapping up warm and spending some time in nature can help lift your mood by providing a much-needed change of scenery and an increase in natural light exposure. Fresh air also lets you escape feeling overwhelmed, a typical symptom of seasonal depression. If it feels too chilly to head outside, consider opening windows or visiting an indoor botanical garden. Whatever you do, try to get out of your home and engage with the natural world.
3) Stay Connected
Finding ways to stay connected with family and friends is essential for counteracting feelings of isolation and loneliness that often accompany seasonal depression. Try making plans for in-person or virtual hangouts, sending daily emails to folks you care about or having regular phone calls with loved ones who live near or far away. Socializing allows us to connect with our sense of self and boosts positive vibes.
4) Eat Well
Food has a powerful impact on our physical and mental health, so ensuring you’re eating nutritious meals throughout the day is important for warding off SAD. Eating foods high in B vitamins, such as lean meats, nuts, seeds, eggs and leafy greens, may help to balance the body’s hormones and reduce symptoms of seasonal depression. In addition, try limiting your intake of foods rich in processed sugar and saturated fats, as they can contribute to depression through increased cravings and carb crashes.
Exercising is a great way to reduce stress, improve sleep quality, boost energy levels and improve our moods. Even if you’re not up for a full-sweat session, moving your body can make an important difference in how you feel. There are tons of ways to make this happen. Of course, there’s the traditional joining a gym route. Still, any activity that gets your blood flowing should work — maybe a brisk walk in the park, a yoga class online or a session of dancing around your living room.
6) Improve Sleep Comfort
Quality sleep is essential for maintaining good mental and physical health, so it’s important to make your bed comfortable and inviting. Investing in a quality mattress can make all the difference when it comes to sleeping easy.
Memory foam mattresses specifically are highly recommended due to their ability to conform to the body’s shape and provide superior support. This helps reduce pressure points, alleviate pain and keep the body properly aligned during sleep. With improved comfort, you will find your sleep more restorative, leaving you feeling energized and better prepared to combat the symptoms of seasonal depression.
7) Embrace Hobbies
Embracing hobbies can be a great way to break the monotony of life and help with seasonal depression. Doing something you love, whether it’s an old hobby or a brand-new activity, will help keep your creative juices flowing and provide an opportunity for self-expression. This is especially beneficial as it can give you something to look forward to during the day while at the same time giving your mind a much-needed break from everyday stressors. When choosing activities, you should make sure they bring joy and give you a sense of accomplishment — this can significantly positively impact mental health in the long run.
8) Retail Therapy
Retail therapy can be a great way to practice self-care when the winter blues hit. While it’s important to have boundaries and not go overboard, budgeting a little extra money for something special like new bedding pillows or a cashmere scarf can help enrich your environment and bring some joy into life. This doesn’t have to be expensive, either — even small purchases, such as decor items or clothing accessories, can make a difference in brightening up your days. The best part is that you don’t have to stick to traditional retail therapy — consider activities that may provide similar benefits, like finding ways to pamper yourself with at-home spa treatments or tickets to an upcoming event.
9) Seek Help When Needed
There is no shame in admitting that you need the support of a professional and reaching out for assistance. Professional help can provide personalized advice tailored to your individual needs, as well as strategies on how to address any additional underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to your depression. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support from family and friends too — having a robust social circle is an essential factor in managing depression, and having someone close to talk through your feelings can be a huge benefit.
Final Thoughts on Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression can be challenging to manage, but with the right strategies and help, it is possible to reduce its effects. Incorporating lifestyle changes such as healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, embracing hobbies and seeking professional assistance when needed can improve mental health during the winter months. So remember: No matter how bleak the season may feel, there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Also Read: Winter Mood – Seasonal Depression