With the excitement of the holidays fading away winter may feel a bit more dreadful and depleting.
According to Psychology Today, ½ a million Americans – women more than men – are diagnosed with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder – often called winter blues).
Countless others experience symptoms of S.A.D. which may include:
- Loss of pleasure
- Low energy/lethargy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased motivation
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness
- An uncontrollable urge to eat sugary or carb heavy foods
Before you reach for that 3rd coffee or take a trip to the vending machine try something a little different!
~ Move your body ~ Nothing better than a rush of dopamine (that feel good neurotransmitter I’m always talking about) to re-energize and elevate mood.
Take your favorite pooch around the block, take a yoga class, hit the gym before heading home from work. Get creative about how you get moving.
~ Lighten UP ~ One of the best strategies is to go outside during the day — morning is best — rather than hibernating indoors. Exposure to natural light can help to restore your body’s natural rhythms and perhaps boost your mood and mental functioning as well. Our bodies crave sunlight so bundle up and soak up the sun as often as possible.
~ Be Present ~ Practice mindfulness. This means being non-judgmental and being aware of the present moment, the here and now. You do not have to be perfect at it; that’s why it’s called a PRACTICE. Start with just five minutes a day. Find 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you feel, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste. If your mind wanders, gently and lovingly bring it back to your sense and the present moment.
~ Make Plans ~ Resist the urge to head home after work or stay in binge watching your favorite show all weekend. Isolation feeds depression. Instead of hibernating, make plans to get out of the house. Meet a friend for lunch or a walk. Spend time with family at least once a week.
~ Talk to Someone ~ Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression and the best treatment is often talking it out with a trained professional. Seeing a therapist can help you address negative feelings and learn how to change your perspective and, in turn, your behavior as well.