It can be very easy to fall down in the dumps during the winter months, especially if you live in a climate with dramatic changes in temperature and weather between seasons. Colder weather can mean less time outside, more grey skies and more time feeling like you’re trapped at home or in the office. This can lead to increased drowsiness, changes in appetite, weight gain, and lowered energy. Occasionally, these conditions can become severe leading to a form of clinical depression known as Seasonal Affect Disorder. We have compiled a few simple tips to improve your mental health and keep up your energy this winter.
- Get Out of the House – It is easy to end up spending most of your winter indoors. Even though it’s cold, wet and grey, getting out is still an important part of a healthy mind. Find winter time activities to invest your time in that will take you out of the house. Whether it be simply going out to more movies, or learning how to snowboard, getting out and having fun can help you to keep your life active during the winter months.
- Break Your Routine – We have spoken about the importance of maintaining a routine more than once on this blog, but in sometimes you can fall into a rut of doing the same thing over and over again. Get out of your rut by trying to mix things up in your day to day life. This can be as easy as treating yourself to a lunch out during work, or as major as taking a vacation time early in the year and getting out of town. Regardless of how you disrupt your routine, it can help prevent that feeling of being bogged down by your daily motions.
- Exercise Regularly – Regular exercise has enormous health benefits, not only on the body, but on the mind as well. Studies have shown that just 30 to 60 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 days a week can reduce your risk of depression and other mental health problems. As an added bonus, you get a chance for an early start on that summer beach bod!
- Light Therapy – A common treatment for people with diagnosed Seasonal Affect Disorder, light therapy involved the use of a special lamp to help release chemicals in your brain the effect your mood. This is a clinically proven method of treating Seasonal Affect Disorder, but devices can vary in effectiveness and this treatment does not work for every person. It is important to consult a doctor if you are considering light therapy so you know which product to buy, and if the treatment is right for you in the first place.
The winter blues can be an enormous drag, especially in places with long winters, like here in Minnesota. Don’t let the cold weather get you down! Stay active, get out there, and have fun!
- “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Oct. 2017.
- “Physical Activity and Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 June 2015.
- “What Do I Do About Seasonal Affective Disorder? The Signs, Symptoms & Treatment.” PsyCom.net.