In the long, cold, dark of winter, it’s easy for spirits to grow low. According to the Cleveland Clinic, as many as a half million people in the US have SAD, or seasonal affect disorder, which mimics the symptoms of depression. The number of people with plain old winter blues is far higher – and it’s no wonder. In a season of early darkness, cold mornings, and overindulgence in carb-heavy foods and sweets, it’s easy for moods and energy levels to drop. Try these five tactics to stay energized and positive throughout the winter.
1. Give Yourself a Treat
Having something to look forward to, whether it’s a scheduled massage or a warm weather vacation in a sunny spot, can make days go faster and mornings feel brighter. Think about scheduling one lovely, rejuvenating activity per month to break up the darkness and keep spirits up.
2. Eat Right to Beat Back the Blues
Wintertime and cold weather means it’s very easy to fall into the trap of comfort foods and sweet treats, particularly around the holidays. But rather than improving mood and energy, eating these kinds of foods will cause your energy levels to fall dramatically, as glucose levels spike and dip.
Aim to follow a typical healthy diet. Some experts believe that getting more vitamin D, which is present in milk and many fish, can help boost energy and diminish the impact of depression.
3. Use Energy to Get Energy
What’s harder than motivating to go to the gym? Getting motivated when it’s cold outside of your comforter, and even colder outside your home. Or worse yet, when it’s already dark, and the pull of your couch is more appealing after work than a workout. Plan ahead to make exercise easy and routine.
You can put out sneakers and gym clothes the night before or bring your workout gear to the office so it’s easy to stop in on the way home from work. And, give yourself a treat: try a new class so that your workout doesn’t feel stale. In general, as the Mayo Clinic notes, exercise is known to reduce the symptoms of depression, most likely because it causes an influx of positive endorphins.
4. Make a Date
Days spent shuttling between work and home are naturally going to feel a bit dull and lackluster. Make plans: go to dinners, concerts, theater, drinks, or even just a movie. Having something social on the calendar will not only give you something to look forward to (see tip number one!) but will also provide a cheery moment of fun, friends, and conversation.
5. Bring in the Light
Ward off the darkness inside your home. Keep lights bright, and angle your seating so that you can receive sunlight during the day. Even winter’s weak light is better than no sunlight at all. Light boxes, which are readily available, mimic the sunlight, and can be helpful in treating SAD.
Seek out professional help if you’re feeling seriously low; talk to your doctor if you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of SAD. We’ve got plenty of energy- and renewal-focused products can help keep your spirits up. Check them out, and tell us how you stay cheery even when the weather is gloomy.