If you are one of the 6 percent of Americans who feel down or depressed during the long winter months, then you are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression, and up to 20 percent of us have a mild form of it that starts as soon as the days get colder and shorter. Fortunately, there are a variety of things that you can do to help. Here’s a list of ways to beat the winter blahs, until it gets warm again.
Be Jolly this Holiday Season
1. Stay Active
Get your body in sync with your mind! Change your routine to include lower-impact activities that realign your chakras. Yoga, stretching, and walking are great ways to stay mindful and active. Walking briskly outside will help to invigorate the mind, body, heart, and spirit. The crispness of the air, exposure to natural light, and the elements will positively impact your physical well-being and mood.
2. Let the Light Shine
Light helps brighten your mood, and the skin absorbs vitamin D from the sun. Find a sunny spot where you can sit and soak in the sun’s energy. You can rearrange the furniture in rooms to maximize natural light as well.
3. Warm Bath or Shower
To create a feeling of peace and comfort, take a warm bath or shower. Doing so will allow your body a chance to rest and relax more deeply.
4. Stop the Stress
Let go of things that cause you to feel anxiety, stress, or sadness. Be mindful of what things are fulfilling, and that bring you happiness.
5. Practice Gratitude
It’s easy to focus on all the negatives, but consider everything positive there is to appreciate this time of year. Savor warm foods and drinks, spend time with your kids, family, or pets, and revel in the spirit of the season.
6. Rest a Moment
If you’re like most of us, especially through the holidays, you have a busy schedule and need to give yourself permission to be grateful for moments of rest. Being mindful of your downtime will help you get through the busy moments.
7. Meaningful Social Contact
The holidays are a great time to catch up and reconnect with friends and family. Look at every celebration and get-together as a blessing and consider it as an opportunity to re-establish relationships.
8. Professional Support
If you’re regularly experiencing depression, dark thoughts, or sadness, make sure to speak to a doctor or counselor right away— whether it’s for seasonal feelings of unhappiness or otherwise. You should talk with your doctor about whether adding dietary supplements or light therapy might help boost your mood. Sometimes just having a therapist to talk to and help process your mental, emotional, and relational factors may also be a contributing factor to a change in mood.
Don’t ever think that you’re alone. This phenomenon is nothing new and occurs in more people than you may realize. SAD is very treatable, with many ways to beat the winter blahs, and can be diagnosed quickly- which is something in itself to be very happy about!