Wintertime Blues - How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder
Have you been waking up lately feeling under the weather like you could just stay in bed all day? Have you been staying home more often and turning down invitations from friends and family to do things that you normally would have been excited to participate in? If this is the case, you might be suffering from the wintertime blues otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder more commonly referred to as SAD.
Each year millions of people suffer some sort of change in mood with the change of the sunny, warmer months to the dreary wintery months. This is mostly due to the lack of natural sunlight that we encounter on a daily basis and the long hours spent indoors but you don’t have to let these things rain, or better yet, snow on your parade, there are some simple things you can do to have a happier winter!
- Go Outside: Just because it is winter doesn't mean that you can’t participate in activities outdoors. Anything from skiing to snowshoeing to sledding can get you out of the house if only for an hour or two. If winter sports aren't your cup of tea, go from a brisk 15 minute walk or run and as your body gets use to working in the cold, you’ll notice yourself slowing increasing the amount time that you spend outside and you’ll probably even notice yourself looking forward to getting out of the house. You might even want to try and take a short walk during your lunch hour at work, it could help be more productive during the day to get out of the building for a few minutes.
- Get A Hobby: Have you always wanted to learn how to knit, play guitar, join a book club or master French cooking? Winter is a perfect time to take up a hobby since you are already spending extra hours indoors. Hobbies might seem like a thing of past with all the technology that we have to give us endless hours of mindless fun, but in all reality, people are taking up hobbies in greater numbers in today’s world since information is so readily available to them. The key to find a hobby for yourself is to try new things: beer brewing, trivia clubs, jewelry making. Check websites like meetup.com for local groups in area with similar interests where someone else will plan events and you just attend so if you work long hours at work, you can simply plan on attending the event without having to worry about the details.
- Public isn't the enemy: Hobbies and exercise might not interest you but make sure you aren't just sitting in your house, go out into the world. You may not feel like conversing with someone but just being around others in a public setting can be a great stress reliever for you during the dreary months. Think outside of the box when thinking about activities to do, for example, become a tourist in your hometown. I’m sure that there are art galleries, museums, and even specialty shops in your city that you have never been to. What better time to go and learn about the community you live in then a snowy Saturday afternoon? If history or art doesn't interest you, go see a movie (yes, it is OK to go by yourself), grab a cup of coffee or tea at a local coffee shop, go window shopping at the mall, or even volunteer in your community.
The winter months can be brutal on the soul and spirit but as you can see from the above suggestions, the world doesn't shut down in the cold and snow and neither should you. Remember that it won’t be winter forever and that summer is only mere months away so make sure you keep busy, get out of the house and most important of all, don’t forget to laugh.
However, if you are concerned that your depression is not caused by SAD then please make sure that you seek out medical help for the condition.