Winter is a magical time for some people. Frosty windows, unique little snowflakes flurrying down, and the air so cold your breath can be seen. It’s a time of excitement for Christmas and the promises of the next year ahead.
For some, though, winter is a time to dread. The cold rock of misery settling on the chest around the heart, it’s painful, and sometimes, you just don’t know why you feel like that. The lack of sunlight and the constant press of rain or cold is depressing for some people, and it makes them want to curl up and hibernate the season away.
This is called SAD – or seasonal affective disorder. Around 10% of people live with it, and it’s responsible for bad moods, exhaustion, weight gain, and depression. The lack of sunshine and warmth feels oppressive and the symptoms begin in the Fall and stay around right through the cold months until Spring. Trying to combat SAD isn’t always easy, especially when you have no choice but to live through the winter if you don’t want to move to the year-round hot countries!
So, we’ve got some tips to help you to get on top of your sadness, let’s get happy and less SAD.
You Need Some Sunshine!
It’s easy to say when you have no choice but to live through the winter, but you need some light. For 30 minutes in the morning, aim to go outside. Yes, bundle up and take a walk. Optometrist Dr. Kerry Gelb writes, “Most people don’t realize that the morning sun reduces stress, improves your sleep, strengthens your immune system, fights off depression, increases vitamin D, and nitric oxide; which protects the heart and the vascular system. Allow yourself 30 minutes of morning sunshine to ensure full benefits without the risk of burning.”
Movement can really help your mood, and just an hour of physical activity can help you to increase your serotonin naturally. When you’re miserable, you stop moving as much, and this can lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, which are only going to make you feel worse! Try swimming over cardio movement; after a swim, head to a steam room for some heat!
A big part of SAD is the carb cravings and weight gain. If you can feel yourself sinking as a response to the cold weather and darker days, changing your diet and filling it with the best food and supplemented with health care nutrients is important. Absolutely have the good carbs, but balance it with fresh veggies and seasonal soups that will ensure that your body is as packed with nutrients as possible.
You need to speak to somebody when you are feeling low, and the support you get can help you to manage the depression. Having people to understand and feel empathetic is important, and you need to regulate your mood and focus better. Knowing that others out there can help you really will make a difference.
Winter doesn’t have to make you feel SAD. It can be anything you want it to be, so figure it out and fix it for yourself.