When the days get shorter, the temperatures drop and the utilities start to increase, the winter blues come rolling in. If you start to feel irritable and sad, experience a lack of energy, and simply feel unlike yourself, then you know you have a case of the winter blues, which are typically triggered by seasonal changes. However, winter blues can also be trigger by holiday stress, changes in your exercise or diet, lack of activity, family issues, sudden loss or financial problems. It is possible to fight off winter blues with the following strategies.
1. Get More Sunlight
During the winter, it makes sense that you will want to hibernate inside. However, it is very important that you make it a point to get outside and get some much-needed sunlight – even if it is cloudy. When there is are fewer hours of daylight, such as during the winter, your sleep-wake cycles are thrown off. However, sunlight can help get them back on track again, while also giving your mood a significant boost. So, despite how the weather is outside, try to get out there for a short walk to the corner café for a coffee, lunch in the courtyard, or to walk your dog.
2. Make Sleep a Priority
Depression can often come on when you aren't getting enough sleep each night, which can occur when your regular sleep cycles are being disrupted as a result of the change in season. So, make sure that you are prioritizing your sleep. It is recommended that you get between seven and eight hours of quality sleep every night. This will not only help ensure that you can maintain proper levels of concentration during the day, but it will also help keep your mood stabilized.
3. Get Moving
As you are hibernating during the winter, it can incredibly easy to put off your trips to the gym. However, the more you get your body moving, the more you can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. In fact, according to research, all it takes is 10 minutes of exercise to push those feelings away and improve your mood. If you aren't able to get to the gym, just do a little bit of exercise in your living room, such as jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups or a brief yoga stint.
The symptoms of winter blues can often be confused with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which has far more severe symptoms. If your symptoms are long-lasting and the aforementioned tips don't seem to be cutting it or if you are just feeling down, blue and/or hopeless, you may want to talk to a mental health professional, such as at Serenity Mental Health, who may be able to help you get your life back on track.