As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it’s common for many people to experience symptoms of the “winter blues.” For some, signs may include a lack of energy or feelings of sadness and irritability. For others, the “winter blues” may actually be seasonal depression.
Seasonal depression, more formally known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a health condition that tends to occur around the same time each year as a result of seasonal transitions. Typically starting up in fall and worsening in winter, SAD has been proven to negatively affect people’s mood, sleep, and productivity levels.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways to combat the “winter blues” through self-care. Read on to find out!
Give your skin some extra TLC
Changes in the environment can wreak havoc on your complexion if you aren’t careful. With low humidity, colder temperatures, and blustery winds it’s natural for your skin to become dry or irritated from the lack of moisture. Given that your skin is your body’s largest organ, it’s important to practice self-care through skin-care.
Start by reevaluating your current skin-care products by studying the ingredients listed on each label. If your products contain ingredients like salicylic acid or ammonium lauryl sulfate, it’s time for a revamp. Talk to a dermatologist about the best topical ingredients to use and skin-care treatment options available. Showing your skin some extra TLC will help you feel better and look great.
Manage your sleep schedule
With reduced hours of daylight, it can be difficult to stick to your normal sleep schedule. However, managing your body’s internal clock plays a crucial role in your health and well-being. If you’re constantly feeling fatigued, your immune system may take a hit. You may also become more irritable, which can cause you to isolate yourself from the world. Sadly, this will only make your “winter blues” worse off.
Your ideal sleep schedule will require a bit of planning and a lot of practicing. First, you’ll need to select your ideal bedtime. The average adult will need about 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to feel fully rested, so make sure you choose a time that guarantees you’re getting both the quantity and quality of sleep you need. Additionally, you’ll also want to align your schedule with your professional and personal life. Once you’ve figured all of that out, it’s time to practice creating a bedtime routine! Adjusting your sleeping pattern may take some time, but if you remain consistent with your routine, you’ll get used to it in no time. To ensure you stick to your sleep schedule, consider downloading a health and wellness app. This will allow you to set reminders, track your sleep, and provide you with a detailed, sleep-related analysis.
Relax to your favorite tunes
Sitting in silence on your phone for too long can lead to overthinking, which may result in added stress or anxiety. To fend off these negative thoughts, you might turn on the television when you’re home alone. Even if you’re not watching it, having that white noise in the background can help to ease your mind. But, turning on the television may cause eye strain or disruption of sleep schedule. To stay relaxed, try listening to music instead!
Believe it or not, listening to music throughout the long, dreary days of winter is an effortless, yet effective way to fight off depression and strengthen your mental health. This is because music “selectively activates” certain brain structures and neurochemical systems that work to regulate your emotions and improve your mindset. So, next time you’re alone with your thoughts, rather than reaching for the remote, turn up the tunes instead.
Spend time outside
It may not be sunny and 75 out, but it’s still essential for you to spend some time outdoors. When you’re feeling down, it can be extremely challenging to get out of the house, especially when it’s cold. Although it’s acceptable to lounge around a few days of the week, it should not become a regular habit. Otherwise, your motivation and productivity may plummet entirely. That’s why devoting time to the great outdoors is necessary for your well-being.
Talking yourself into a quick hike or a long walk can allow you to disconnect from the world for a while and support your path to healing. According to research, time spent outside has proven to be beneficial for physical and mental health. Not only can it reduce symptoms of SAD, but it can also buoy your mood, enhance creative concentration, and even lower stress levels! Well, what are you waiting for? Bundle up in your warm winter gear and soak up that natural Vitamin D.
Talk to someone
Expressing our health issues and showing vulnerability is a hard thing to conquer. No one wants to be thought of as weak or feel judged by other people. And while overcoming this fear may be tough, sometimes seeking social support is exactly what we need to guide us on the road to happiness.
At the end of the day, we’re all searching for the same things in life: health and happiness. But you have to remember that everyone’s journey is different from one another. Some people can do it on their own, while others can’t, and that is perfectly okay! Never hesitate to ask for help from the people around you. Whether it’s a family member, close friend, or even a therapist, talking to someone about how you’re feeling can be a very rewarding experience. Remember that no matter what, you are not alone.