This winter has been a particularly fierce one and with plenty of snow, grey skies and nippy temperatures, when you find yourself daydreaming of an exotic sunny getaway, just know that you are definitely not alone.
While most of us chalk up these feelings to mild cases of the “winter blues”, some of us feel the impact of winter on our mental health more negatively than others, which can be diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
As the sun’s rays has become weaker with the shortening of daylight, it can take a toll on mental health and symptoms of SAD begin to take shape, which can include extreme fatigue, sadness, emptiness, anxiety, decreased energy, lack of focus, or weight gain.
During the winter months, the winter blues and SAD could affect your productivity and motivation at in all parts of your life. Here are some ways you can combat these symptoms and make yourself feel better:
- Use food as fuel: It’s only too easy to reach for comfort food during the winter months, particularly food that “sticks to your ribs”, as they say. Ensure that your diet consists of vitamin-rich foods so that you can combat illness and unhealthy cravings.
- Every bit of exercise helps: Even if you don’t enjoy traditional winter sports, don’t put exercise on the backburner for the winter months. Bundle up and go for a walk, invest in at-home yoga videos or take advantage of indoor pools and gyms. Take a few minutes throughout the day to stretch at work, especially if you have a sedentary job. The endorphins released while exercising increases your energy for the rest of your day.
- Take sun breaks: When the sun breaks through the clouds, try to take advantage! Spend a few minutes outside, soak up the vitamin D and enjoy winter’s small miracles.
- Honour your commitments: keep your schedule full and don’t let yourself back out of your plans. When you don’t have anywhere to be, hibernating in bed for 11 hours is only too easy.
- Plan ahead: When you have something to look forward to, whether that’s a trip, an event, a meaningful purchase or some other life change, every day that passes brings you a step closer. The winter will not last forever, so give yourself reasons to move forward. It’s almost over!
How do you combat the winter blahs? Do you have any tips or tricks to making the most of the winter season? I look forward to your comments below!