The second of November marks the end of Daylight Savings Time. With the days getting shorter, darker, and colder, you may feel like hibernating for the rest of the winter. While this is a very tempting idea, you can’t avoid the winter- but you don’t have to be down in the dumps for the next four months! Here are a few tips to getting over that winter slump.
Outsmart the Darkness
One of the greatest causes of winter depression is waking up in darkness, instead of in sunlight. This really throws off your system! Light therapy is recommended for people who are prone to the winter blues. You may not be able to wake up to natural sunlight, but keep a bright (but not harsh) light on your bedside table that you turn on as soon as you wake up. Your body associates morning with light, which is why it is so hard to get up when it is still dark out. By waking up to a bright shining light, you will trick your body into remembering that it is time to get up. Even though natural light is harder to come by in the winter, soak up all of it you can- keep your blinds up during the day so some of the winter sun can enter your house, and turn the lights on as soon as it gets too dark- walking around in dim light will only contribute to your winter blues.
There is something about wintertime that just makes you want to snuggle up with a cup of tea and a book at home. While this is certainly nice, this can also be adding to your winter blues. Of course, cozy alone time is important, becoming too much of a shut in during the winter can inadvertently cause you to be more depressed. People are social creatures, and when you do not spend enough time with others- even if it is your own choice, the loneliness will take a toll on your state of mind. By all means, have your quiet alone time, but be sure to schedule a few social activities a week with friends and family members and stick to them. If you have plans with a friend, but all you want to do is lay on the couch watching movies, invite your friend to join you!
Similar to socializing, exercising is also something that naturally lessens depression. You might feel peppy and cheerful taking a jog in the park on a beautiful spring day, but when winter comes around, that may be the last thing you want to do. This decrease in motivation to work out can be part of the reason you may be feeling down. Find away to make exercising in the winter fun. Join a trendy gym (perhaps with a sauna or whirlpool), even if it costs a little more. Reward yourself with some hot chocolate after your workout. Anything you can do to make exercising something that you look forward to will not only perk you up in the short run, but the effects of working out will make the winter a much happier and energetic time for you.
On those lazy winter days when you don’t want to do anything, it may not be a good idea to become a complete couch potato, but there are ways that you can relax while making yourself feel better. Yoga and meditation are things you can do indoors that will get your blood flowing, allow you to concentrate on your breathing, and perk you up. You can also treat yourself to a spa day. A long massage and facial will feel incredibly relaxing and luxurious in the middle of the winter, and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Doesn’t that sound better than an afternoon on the couch followed by a groggy nap hangover?
Eat Your Happiness
Feel better from the inside out. In the winter, we aren’t exposed to as much fresh air and sunlight that cause us to flourish. Make up for this by eating nutritious meals filled with vitamins and minerals that will make you feel more awake and healthy. Lean meats, fishes, vegetables, and fruits are great options. It may also be a good idea to take additional fish oil and Vitamin C. When you eat better, you feel better. However, don’t feel pressured to eat all healthy all the time. While it is certainly good to eat as nutritiously as you can, no one can deny the pick-me-up effects of comfort foods. Indulge in a pumpkin spice latte or Christmas cookies- just limit how often you do this so you don’t become dependent on food for happiness.