Some of us are managing fine with our mental health. Even with the pandemic, we have learned to cope with the temporary isolation that came with the lockdown. We have adapted to staying at home for more than a year, and now we are almost free to roam around once more to mingle with friends and family. But winter is coming, and the blues might damper our moods once again.
Seasonal affective disorder(SAD) is a kind of depression that goes with the changing of the seasons, especially when entering the gloomy cold months of fall and winter. This is more serious than the usual winter blues as it can last for a longer period, but there are some effective ways to avoid fully sinking into the disorder. Here are some steps to help you brighten up your day and keep away both winter blues and SAD.
Catch some sunlight
One of the explanations that scientists and researchers have found to cause this seasonal change in temperament is the decrease in sunlight that people are exposed to. Natural light is a stimulus that helps people to keep their moods up by triggering a release of feel-good hormones.
The opposite goes for the darker months that deprive the brain of these hormones, making us more susceptible to negative emotions and depression. Seeking out the sun rays by opening windows or going outside can greatly boost the mood, but when this is not possible, lightbox therapycan be done right inside the home.
Exercise helps release hormones that induce feelings of happiness and pleasure, so it is always recommended to move around and get active, especially in the colder seasons. Exercise doesn’t always have to be your usual workout to get fit. You can go for more practical routines of walking, jogging, or biking or choosing more enjoyable activities like dancing with an online dance routine or skiing on the slopes in your Arcteryx ski jacket.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you get your heart rate up and sweat a little to get the blood flowing. It is recommended to do this routine as often as possible, equal to three times a week of intensive exercise.
Your diet is part of what controls your mood ad emotions. Choosing the right kind of food should help to make you happier during the winter. Of course, the right balance of nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and meats will give you enough energy for the day.
Sugary treats can give an immediate boost in your mood, but try to avoid eating too much as they will make you gain weight and cause a sugar crash, which may induce anxiety, irritability, and a whole slew of down emotions. Lastly, drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
Listen to music
Music is part of sound therapy that can keep you happier depending on what is playing. You can create a playlist of songs that have upbeat rhythms to help you feel more cheerful. Relaxing tunes like classical music, LoFi, and other instrumental arrangements are also good for when you don’t feel like listening to upbeat songs. Try to stay away from highly emotional songs that may enhance your negative thoughts and feelings. But you can listen to anything as long as it can make you feel less somber.
Bring in the greens
House plants are found to help people who feel stressed out and are feeling depressed or anxious. The greens are good to the eyes, giving a peaceful sight that can remind you of nature, while their process of photosynthesis can reduce pollutants in the air, making the various spaces in your home more breathable.
Get out of the house
When you feel like the cause of this seasonal depression is the seclusion from the outside world, do what you must and go out. Seeing new views away from the walls of your home may trigger something positive in you and keep the blues away for longer. But because the pandemic is still here, wear your face mask and maintain social distancing to keep yourself safe.
These steps are some ways to counter the blues yourself, but if you feel like these are not enough to keep your mood up, consider looking for professional help. Therapy is always a good option as this will give you concrete solutions to specific causes of your temperamental changes.
The experts will recommend long-term steps rather than preventive ones meant to distract the mind temporarily. But what’s important is to take the initiative in your life and do what you have to do, whether doing the little things or reaching out for help, to get yourself in a better place than you are right now.