As autumn’s friendly days fade away, winter approaches quickly. For some people, this can be a downer. There is a reason fall is considered the nation’s favorite season. It can be sunny, a comfortable temperature, and beautiful all at once. But winter is usually less welcome since it is often the start of more melancholy times.
And for some people, this season brings more than just melancholy. Many people, particularly those living in Northern regions, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD include depression, loss of interest in activities, low energy, sluggishness, feelings of worry, trouble sleeping, and other cognitive effects.
If you have been living with SAD for winter upon winter, this is your year to make a change. This guide will provide some strategies to lift yourself up this season, keeping SAD in the past.
Spend time outdoors.
One of the most difficult parts of winter is the short days and time spent indoors. To combat this, find pockets of time to get outside. Whether you take a hike during the day, learn to ski, or go for a stroll during your lunch break, there are always moments to embrace the chill and enjoy the beauty that winter has to offer.
See a professional.
As with any other sort of mental illness, you do not have to go through SAD alone. Consider seeing a therapist to work through your situation. If you think that medication might be the way to go, talk to your doctor about antidepressant options. These tools can help you reach your mental health baseline.
Just because you can’t spend long days in the sunshine doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself in other ways. While you are cozy and scrolling through Instagram, you might notice the more than 600,000 photos tagged #browsonfleek. Well, you deserve to have your brows on fleek too. Get out of the house for an afternoon and treat yourself to a waxing appointment.
Learn new hobbies.
If a cold winter keeps you indoors, you might as well make the most of it. By taking up knitting, painting, cooking, or another indoor hobby, you can give yourself something to look forward to when the sun goes down. And as you learn these new skills, you can keep your mind alert and occupied.
Keep your body moving.
While going to the gym is likely the last thing you want to do in sub-zero temperatures, it can fight that winter stiffness and boost your mood. About 69% of Americans say that back pain affects their daily life, and movement can help alleviate this while helping your brain produce endorphins.
Remember that you have the power to control or prevent SAD this winter. After all, it is your health.
“Though cold weather is likely to have a lot of us wishing for spring, it’s important not to cast off SAD as an inevitable winter side effect,” according to Greatist. “Taking action when symptoms hit could make the difference between a lonesome stretch and a happy winter season.”
Work with a professional and develop your own strategies to make your mental health a priority this year. You might actually find that winter isn’t too bad.