Do you feel gloomy when the seasons change? Does your energy level get sapped? You may have the “winter blues” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that’s related to the changing of seasons. In the winter, it can be caused by things like shorter days, colder temperatures, less sunlight, and less activity. Here are some things that can help SAD:
- Be active – connect with friends, take on projects, learn new things, and help others.
- Spend time outside on sunny days to get more vitamin D.
- Exercise to reduce stress and make you feel happier.
- Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water.
- To handle stress, practice being mindful and grateful.
- Get as much natural light as you can inside your home.
Learn New Ways to Cope
At Learn to Live, we teach members how to catch negative thoughts like “I’m always going to feel rotten” or “I’m probably the only one who feels this bad”. Just noticing that we’re having these thoughts can help us change them. Try to focus on thoughts like “I might feel better before long, especially if I get up and take a walk”.
Even when it’s cold and gray out, doing enjoyable things and seeing people can boost your mood. Learn to Live’s online Depression program teaches us about “activation”. It’s an idea that can help defy depression’s pull toward being inactive. It gives us the tools to gently nudge ourselves to do small, rewarding things like taking a walk or connecting with others. Doing these rewarding activities can start to shift how you’re feeling and improve your mood. Engaging with the world, in ways big or small, can lift the spirits.