Seasonal shifts wreak havoc on one’s mental health. Most commonly, a complete change in lifestyles is difficult for many to adapt to. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can affect anyone of any age, but particularly in the case of adults, it can truly damper their ability to keep their day-to-day lives moving forward. Let’s look at some of the best ways to overcome the winter blues.
Maintain Physical Activity
When the sun is shining and the weather is inviting, it’s incredibly easy to stay active and get outside. When the season shifts and you’re more or less forced to stay inside, activity levels can drop, and the blues can kick in.
Physical activity directly links to the release of happy hormones, so it’s critical to find a way to remain active. You can always move your workout indoors (think stationary bike, yoga, or a gym membership) but nothing beats bundling up and going for a brisk walk on a sunny winter day.
Being cold is not for everyone. But sometimes, we forget just how cold it gets, which also contributes significantly to depressive moods. I was intrigued when I read about Melissa Urban’s hot food experiment, so I tried it myself and it really does help. Think about focusing on warm/hot foods during the winter months. I like to make a big batch of homemade soup on the weekends, and this Cape Malay Chicken Curry is both warm and comforting. Keep your home between 64 and 70 degrees, and wear layers if you need extra support.
Eat the Rainbow
This might sound crazy, and no, I’m not saying to find and eat a rainbow. But make your next trip to the market a powerful one. Grab red vegetables and green fruits; bring in yellows and oranges, too. Consider healthy alternatives to bring in more colors, like purple sea moss or green seaweed.
Understandably, if you’re suffering from SAD, then you’re probably not into going out when it’s frigid. But if you’re experiencing an unseasonably warm December day and the sun is shining, don’t be afraid to put on your coat and go outside for 15 to 20 minutes.
Seeing the sun or natural light during the peak of the day can help your circadian rhythm and provide you with much-needed vitamin D. Both of these factors will promote better rest and happy hormones.
Some of the best ways to overcome the winter blues are things we can do without really putting in much of an effort. I know the season is long, and the feelings are rough, but there is light at the end of this dark, cold tunnel.