We all joke about the “winter blues” but Seasonal depression (aka seasonal affective disorder (SAD)) is a real thing. The reduced level of sunlight in the winter months can affect our serotonin that affects mood and can create symptoms that are typically consistent with those that occur with depression including carbohydrate craving, increased appetite, excessive sleepiness, and weight gain.
Specific symptoms of seasonal depression are Depression, anxiety, mood changes, sleep problems, a feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine, overeating, social problems, Sexual problems and more.
What this all means is that we have to be extra mindful about our mental and physical health during the winter times. Sure, it’s easy to be happy on the beach, sitting in the sunshine with a margarita in your hand. It’s much harder when you’re wearing 3 layers of clothes barely able to drink a cup of tea ‘cus your hands are shaking cold.
Sure, it’s super tempting to curl up inside, eating comfort food, and binge-watching TV (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Hell, that sounds like a great Saturday night) but if you’re prone to get the winter blues this is not a long-term solution.
Yeah, I know… nobody wants to be working out in the cold. It’s super hard to motivate yourself to get out of your comfy PJ’s even to walk to the gym (especially when it’s still dark outside when you wake up and it gets dark really early in the evenings too).
But maintaining a work-out routine during the winter time is super important. Try to find the right winter activity for you… if you like running maybe join the gym for a couple of months or try hot yoga during the dreadfully cold months. Another great option is to try at-home workouts that you can find online.
If you’re still not motivated just think of the fact you’ll have to put a bikini on in a couple of months…
The most tempting thing for staying warm and comforted in the winter times is, unfortunately, food. The cold weather and the big clothes make us reach for the fridge. We are more inclined to eat dense, warm foods and that’s ok but in the end all of that extra food will make you feel havier. literally.
Because food is pretty powerful, by tweaking our diets we can actually help to counter many of the negative impacts winters has on our body. Check out these 8 key diet changes you should make in winter.
It’s much less obvious when we aren’t hot and sweaty so you might not feel as thirsty but it doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need the same amount of water.
The dry, cold winter air can really give your skin a beating so don’t forget to take extra good care of it during this time of year. Pamper yourself with your favorite moisturizing cream or go the long way and treat yourself to a spa day at home.
Well, during the winter, getting outside is probably the last thing you want to do but being outside during the daylight can help your vitamin D levels and also helps support your immune system and mood.
In fact, studies show that spending time in nature actually switches your nervous system into a relaxed state and reduces activity in a part of the brain commonly associated with a low mood, leaving you less likely to stew on things.
You might also like: 8 simple steps that will immediately improve your night’s sleep
During the summer-time, you can find me running around like a headless chicken (especially during the weekends). Seriously, I have so much energy so I manage to accomplish a lot. But the winter makes me feel like I just want to stay in bed. And that’s ok.
If you’re anything like me just tell yourself that it’s okay to slow down a little bit (especially during the weekends). You can use the awful weather as an excuse next weekend and just spend the day in bed: Read a book, journal, reflect, and watch a movie or any other relaxing activity.
Check out these 20 Fun (& Affordable) Indoor winter activities
I am a firm believer in the possible positive effects of social media (once you use it right) but social media can also be very harmful. Especially during the winter, when we feel a little sluggish (old sweatpants and all) we don’t want to be comparing our current state to some full-time traveler on his exotic vacation or what not.
It’s really easy to forget that your favorite blogger/influencer/celebrity also has there downtime (yep, sweatpants and all), they just don’t show it on Instagram. We always need to keep in mind that what we see on social media is not the “whole truth”.
Additionally, we live in an age of information overload which can be overwhelming sometimes. So turn off your phone and just be present as you take time out for yourself.
Might as well take advantage of you being inside (not on social media) to do some reflecting…you know, New Year’s and its resolutions are right around the corner.
You can create a relaxing music playlist (I usually use Spotify for that), pour yourself a hot cup of tea and reflect your goals and dreams for the upcoming year.
I think that taking the time to ponder and really connect with ourselves is a super important part of self-care as well as goal-setting. For me, reflecting on my life (what is currently working and what needs to be changed) and planning ahead really helps me to stay grounded and motivated.
Well, we have concluded that winter kinda sucks right? So why not helps ourselves to feel a little better. We all have that guilty pleasure– whether it’s a sweet treat, some self-pampering or a new pair of fuzzy slippers. Cheer yourself up by indulging in that.
You don’t have to be in hibernation mode alone… Go out and see some friends and family or better yet invite them over so you won’t have to leave the house. Socializing (with the right people) can be extremly good for our soul.
At the end of the day, winter will blow over into hot summer days before you’ll notice. So let us try to be gratful what we do have (warm clothes, a roof over our heads, comforting food) and of course already start planning how we’re going to spend the summer months (this always cheers me up).
I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. Do you ever get the “winter blues”? how do you deal with that?