There seems to be a huge amount of apathy going around during January and February. People tend to feel down, they get sluggish and their sleep cycle gets disturbed. After all, with the days going shorter and the sun rarely in sight, it feels like the night is taking over everything, including our mood. This is called the winter blues. And even though this isn’t a clinically recognized condition, there are some overlaps in symptoms between the winter blues and SAD. Luckily, you don’t have to hopelessly endure the symptoms of winter blues. There are some ways for you to make yourself feel better and regain some control over your mental state during the winter months. Take a look.
Turn to light therapy
Natural sunshine is essential for your overall well-being and your mood, but as winter sets in, it’s likely that you’ll have to leave for work while it’s still dark, and then come back home after the sunset. This means that you don’t really get to see any sunlight during the day. And even when you can spend time outdoors during the daytime, there’s a good chance that the sun will be hidden behind clouds. Not only can this have a negative effect on your circadian rhythm, but it can also lead to a decrease in Vitamin D and serotonin levels in your body, causing you to feel gloomy and plain sad. If the company you work for allows some flexibility when it comes to working hours, try taking a walk before work on sunnier days, but if not, perhaps you should invest in an ultra-violet filtered light box. Sitting next to one for half an hour or so a day can help you manage your winter blues and cheer you up a bit since these boxes can regulate the way your body naturally releases the hormones you so desperately need to regain your energy and sleep normally. Nevertheless, before you start with light box therapy, talk to a doctor or another mental-health professional and get advice on which kind of light box to get and how and when to use it.
Physical exercise is beneficial for our physical and mental health all year round, but it’s especially important that you keep working out throughout winter. Your winter blues can have you feeling completely deprived of energy, but you should still invest some effort into being physically active. Whether you take regular walks, jogs or bicycle rides, or you opt for another form of exercise, such as dancing classes, yoga or simply some gym time, you should make this a regular activity in order to improve your mental and physical state. And if you exercise outdoors while the sun is up, even better. If your lack of energy is something that’s keeping you back and preventing you from engaging in any sort of physical activity, perhaps Yohimbe supplements can help. Yohimbe is a stimulant that can lead to your heart rate increasing and your blood pressure rising, making your metabolism work faster. The pre-workout supplements containing yohimbine can boost your energy, focus, and stamina, giving you exactly what you need in order to work out successfully on a daily basis.
Adjust your diet
As much as you want to reach for comfort food in order to feel better, you should refrain from doing so. Namely, greasy and sugary snacks, things like candy bars or pizza will provide you with some short-term relief from feeling down, but their effect is merely temporary and they won’t actually be helping your winter blues. In fact, after the initial sugar rush goes by, you’ll probably experience the symptoms of winter blues even more severely. So, be mindful of what you eat during winter. Your mental health might be affected by the lack of vitamins and minerals your body and mind require to work properly. That’s why you should reach for foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, lean meat, nuts, and seeds, as well as whole grains. Seafood and olive oil will probably do you well, too. Plus, although it’s winter, you can still find seasonal foods at your local farmers’ market. The warm climates are plentiful in fruit during winter, so choose citruses or pomegranates, or vegetables such as leafy greens. When it comes to cooler climates, you can rely on various roots, such as carrots, potatoes, turnips, beets, and sweet potatoes, but also cabbage, brussels sprouts and winter squash. You should also visit your doctor and see if you need some vitamin or mineral supplements if you’re not getting all you need from food.
Try enjoying yourself
You should never underestimate the benefits of having fun. So, if you want to beat your winter blues, make sure you do whatever you can to feel good. This means that you shouldn’t spend your time with people who drain you and make you feel bad about yourself and the world, but rather with those who love you, support you, make you laugh and, by simply being there for you, make your day. If you prefer spending time with your pet, that’s fine, too. You like reading? Then, by all means, read away. Watch comedies, listen to upbeat music, take a bubble bath or have a glass of wine over some scented candles. If you like going out, find out what’s on at your local theatre or cinema. Similarly, if there are some good concerts in your proximity, invite your best friend or your partner and have a good time together. In case you’re a fan of board games, organize a game night for your friends or coworkers. If you spend a lot of time indoors, make some changes in your home. Decorate it, add a splash of color to it and you’ll feel better instantly. These little things will, one by one, contribute to improving mood and will help you tackle your winter blues.
As soon as you notice something is wrong and that you’re feeling or behaving unlike you usually do, make sure you talk to an expert and find out exactly what’s going on with you. And if it turns out its winter blues, don’t dwell in it, but take all the necessary steps to make things easier on yourself and to enhance your mood as soon as you can.