Winter isn’t officially here, but it’s colder and darker outside than a couple of weeks ago. The sun isn’t shining this week, and you feel sadder every day. It’s challenging to tell what makes you feel more uncomfortable and irritated, the fact that the days are gloomy or that you seem to fail to adapt to the cold. You can see the same frustrations in some of your friends, and after several conversations, you start to wonder if you’ve fallen victim to the winter blues.
Shorter days and colder weather often make people experience symptoms like difficulty concentrating, sadness, a disruption in sleep patterns, or fatigue. Some feel better after a couple of weeks because they adapt to the season change, but for others, the winter blues become more severe. If you think you might be dealing with seasonal affective disorder, keep reading this article because it’ll tell you how to beat the winter blues.
Pay attention to what you eat
Your diet significantly impacts your overall health, and the most effective way to boost your mental health and mood is to keep an eye on what you eat. A diet rich in sugars and simple carbs can trigger bloating, fatigue, and an overall body crash, so you should try to reduce the number of ingredients that could contribute to your depressive state. Instead, switch to a diet that gives your body the necessary nutrients to thrive. Eat protein for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to prevent cravings for carbs and sugar and improve your mood. Consider adding seeds cannabis to your salads or smoothies as they can help you relax and wind down.
Keep in mind that you’re exposed to less sunlight during fall and winter, and it’s crucial to add to your diet foods rich in Vitamin D. When you shop for groceries next time, add to your cart yoghurt, breakfast cereal, orange juice, milk, fatty fish, and fish oil because they’re natural sources that could balance your moods.
We cannot stress enough how important sleep is for your overall health and mood. If you neglect to rest and sleep well every night, your circadian rhythm can get thrown off, which causes hormonal and cortisol rhythm disruptions. Consistent and adequate sleep plays an essential role in your mood, so improve your sleep patterns.
Here are some recommendations that might help:
– Put down your smartphone and tablet an hour before going to bed
– Read a book instead of watching TV before bed
– Go to sleep and wake up at the same times daily
– Create and stick you’re a bedtime routine
– Sleep in a cool dark room
– Walk for at least 30 minutes daily to expose yourself to some light
– Use supplements like cannabis seeds if you find it difficult to relax and relieve stress before bedtime
Engage in physical activity
For a good reason, exercising is one of the most common recommendations to improve mental health during the cold season. Physical activity can alleviate depressive symptoms, improve mood, and reduce stress. Start slowly and build a fitness routine if you’re not an active individual. It’s recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, which you might find challenging considering the cold weather. However, you can switch to home exercising or joining a gym for the winter months instead of running in the park.
Fitness-related activities can include everything from swimming to yoga, runs, walks, and strength training. Exercising daily can greatly impact your mood, so you should motivate yourself to make room for physical activity in your schedule.
Connect with your values
Engage in activities that hold your concentration and interest because an effective way to prevent winter blues is to keep yourself busy. You don’t have to pick something major that takes most of your time; even simple activities will do. Taking action can be as small as walking your dog in the park or cooking a new dish. Direct your interest towards activities that boost your energy, and try to keep yourself away from those that drain you. You’ll feel better when your actions, feelings, and thoughts sync with the things important to you. Passive activities like watching a TV show are sometimes too weak to interest you.
Seasonal affective disorder has similar symptoms to depression, and it could make you put off tasks because you feel like you’re not up for it. However, you should catch yourself and instead of postponing entire activities, do a small bit of them instead. It’ll help you get back on track but at your pace. It’s normal to want to avoid the activities that get you out of your comfort zone, but if you want to prevent or alleviate winter blues, you should avoid avoidance because it’s one of the main factors that leads to seasonal affective disorder.
For example, if you aren’t in the mood to cook a meal but decide to make yourself a cup of coffee instead, get the ingredients out of the fridge and bring them into the kitchen before starting the coffee maker. You’ll find that once you have the ingredients at hand, you’ll want to continue cooking.
Spend quality time with your family and friends
Staying connected and socializing is crucial for your mental health, especially during the winter when there are less than seven hours of natural light a day. Chatting with your family members and catching up with your friends is always good for your mental health, so try to stay more connected to them. Even if you feel like you’d like to spend your free time alone at home, you should do something active like grabbing a meal with your friends, watching a movie with your family, going for coffee with your partner, or doing other activities to keep your mind busy.
The above tips should help you get through the winter blues. However, if you notice that you find it difficult to handle your emotions and moods, get professional help.