People are usually in a seasonal slump during winter. The lack of sunlight along with the drop in temperature can negatively affect their everyday lives. The cold weather, for instance, can mess with your sleeping pattern.
What’s more, winter can take a toll on a person’s mental health. A report from the American Psychiatric Association revealed that five percent of adults in the United States experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression. Individuals with SAD typically experience symptoms and mood changes similar to depression. The hardest months for individuals with this disorder tend to be the first two months of the year.
Although the weather and environment outside your house are completely beyond your control, you can still take steps to stay happy and healthy during wintertime.
Consider adopting these eight self-care ideas to keep yourself at your best during the cold season:
- Expose Yourself to More Light
Getting the sunlight you need during the day is tough especially given the fact that winter has long nights. Exposure to light is necessary, as this causes positive changes in the chemical balance of the brain.
If the weather isn’t letting in ample sunlight in your area during the day, don’t fret. You could use a lightbox or a box containing fluorescent lights installed in it. Expose yourself to bright light later in the evening after sunset and early in the morning before sunrise. This helps minimize the symptoms of SAD.
When you’re getting some natural light in your area, make the most of the sunlight by keeping the shades and blinds as open as possible. Also, trim down bushes or tree branches that obstruct your windows. This way, more natural light can enter your living space.
- Work on Your Bucket List
Do activities that require a little effort on your end. Then, turn them into a winter bucket list. If you want to improve the appearance of your pearly whites, for instance, whiten your teeth with a DIY kit or visit the dentist.
Another example is to do activities you loved to do when you were a child, such as coloring books and finger painting. The goal is to keep yourself happy and engaged, so you won’t think about the dreary winter season.
- Enjoy Hot Baths or Showers
Taking a shower or a bath is a great self-care tip, as this helps relax your tense muscles. Start by collecting your favorite bath salts and pampering yourself to the max.
Pro-tip: before you take your hot bath or shower, consider adding some aesthetics to your bathroom. You could play your favorite music or light up a few scented candles to set the mood.
- Work Out Regularly
Exercise produces endorphins, which can help cut down everyday stress. So, make sure you work out to ward off the winter blues.
If the weather permits, take brisk walks at a park or an open public space. Alternatively, you could dance around in your living room, buy and use a treadmill or stationary bike, visit a gym (if it’s open) or sign up for a virtual aerobics class. The important thing that you take steps to keep your blood pumping and your body moving.
- Use Your Sick Days
Some workers are reluctant to miss work for two reasons: they need the money, or they’ve noticed that many people in their team have taken a vacation leave.
If you’re not feeling well, take the appropriate leave days provided by your employer. Refrain from showing up to work physically or mentally sick or trying to tough it out, as this could result in more burnout as winter continues.
- Visit the Doctor;
On top of using your allotted leaves, remember to consult a medical professional for your physical or mental sickness. Don’t let your overall health go uncared for completely simply because you’re busy or don’t feel like getting up from your bed. Scheduling and attending the doctor’s appointments you set online or over the phone are important self-care acts that you should do this winter.
- Stay Hydrated
Regular hydration is another self-care strategy you should incorporate into your routine. Drinking water is essential, as this helps keep your skin moist and prevent issues, such as constipation. If you don’t feel like drinking water, you could add flavor to your beverage by mixing some honey and lemon.
- Connect with Your Support System
Spend quality time with the people that matter in your life. Allocate time to talk on Facebook (or whatever social media platform you prefer), meet in person for coffee or chat on the phone. Look at your trusted friends and family as a support system who will help you meet your needs and hold you accountable for your health and life goals.
Don’t allow the cold weather to make you feel unhappy about yourself. Follow these eight self-care strategies to boost your quality of life during the cold season.