Experiencing depression in the winter is more common than you think. If cloudy skies and chilling temperatures have you down, try these tips to start feeling sunny again.
Get More Sunshine
The main cause of seasonal affective disorder is a lack of exposure to sunlight. The days get shorter in the winter, and in New York, the sun tends to disappear behind a cloud. This lack of sunlight can ruin your sleep cycle and dampen your mood.
The only real solution is to get as much sunlight as possible. Try going for a walk first thing in the morning to get the most benefits – it will set the right tone for the rest of your day.
Dress for the Weather
People tend to stay inside in the winter to avoid the cold. But since going outside is vital for your mental health, you’ll need to come up with a compromise.
This winter, make sure that you have all of the cold-weather gear you could want. Get warm boots, soft mittens, and a fuzzy hat that makes you smile. Don’t be afraid to bundle up behind your scarf; your eyes will absorb all the sunlight you need.
Buy a Light Therapy Box
Sometimes, morning walks just aren’t enough. That’s why many people with SAD turn to light therapy boxes for extra UV light. You can find light boxes in all shapes and sizes, so try placing one on your desk or next to your favorite place on the couch. Take a mini light bath every day to keep your spirits up.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating the right foods can help improve your overall mood. In particular, you’re looking to eat more Vitamin B12 and omega fats. This translates to enjoying fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses.
In addition to the healthy stuff, treat yourself to a few things that you know you love. Nothing cures a bad mood quite like a little dark chocolate or a nice latte.
Adopt a Houseplant
Keeping a plant in your house can actually help cure depression. If you need a reason to pull through in the winter months, caring for a new spider plant might be the perfect solution. The plant will help purify the stale winter air in your home, and you’ll have something to do while you’re stuck inside.
Spend Time Doing What You Love
It’s really easy to let the stresses of winter pull you away from your hobbies and friends. Social interaction is important, and so is fulfilling your goals. Whatever you like to do, make sure that you take the time to do it. It’s okay to go at a slower pace if you don’t feel as enthusiastic as normal.
Winter happens every year, so don’t let yourself dread the change in mood. Instead, recognize that your drop in energy is a natural result of the seasonal cycle, and take steps to keep yourself feeling safe and relaxed.