Why the Secret to Fighting Your Winter Blues May Be More Self-Care by Kimberly Hayes
We have more in common with plants than you might think. Humans thrive when properly hydrated and cared for, and we even get our energy from the sun. So, when the winter season brings decreased daylight hours, many people start to feel tired, moody, and not at all like themselves. While a little dip in energy may be normal, if your symptoms start to impact your life, you may actually be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). You can combat the winter blues and get yourself back on track with some simple, smart wellness tips.
Support Your Mood, Even with Minimal Sunlight
To get through the winter doldrums, you will need some creative ways to boost your mood and energy levels. As much as our bodies depend on the sun for mood and energy management, gut health can be just as important. When you feel like you are in a slump, try adding fermented foods or a probiotic supplement to your health routine and see if that elevates your energy levels. You can also use these simple suggestions to keep your brain and body sharp when daylight hours begin to wane. Meet up with your friends for a regular social outing, start a journal, and try to squeeze in a little outdoor time. Even without the sun, time spent in nature has been shown to lower feelings of anxiety and stress. If you prefer to work on your mood indoors, however, you could also try a meditation practice. Meditation is a physically and mentally enriching habit to add to your routine, so try to set aside at least 10 minutes for it.
Consult Your Healthcare Provider Before Beginning Treatments
So many of the practices used to cope with SAD are beneficial to anyone who wants to improve their overall well-being. Stress relief is always a boost to your physical and mental health, so finding ways to work through the increased tension of the holiday season during the winter can definitely help. There’s never really any harm in adding these healthy practices to your life, but before you start treating your seasonal affective disorder, it’s important to get a diagnosis.
There are some signs of SAD you shouldn’t ignore, mostly because these symptoms could also be an indication that something else is going on. Depression, mood disorders, and SAD can have some of the same effects on your mood and health, but the treatments for each are very different. Your symptoms could even be an indicator of a chronic health issue, like an underactive thyroid. So, if you seem to be tired and depressed for an extended period of time, your first step should be to schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions that could be bringing you down.
Be Kind to Yourself During the Winter — and All Year Long
We tend to give so much of ourselves to others, at work and at home, that we forget to take care of our own bodies and minds. However, regular self-care is a must if you want to have the energy to get through those busy days, and it can also relieve the effects of SAD. And by self-care, we mean the basic health and fitness routines that people need to sustain their energy, mood, and overall well-being. If you are too busy to cook your own healthy meals during the week, try reserving some time on the weekend to meal prep a week’s worth of wholesome, delicious options. Exercise is vital for your mood as well since your body needs physical activity to produce the endorphins that keep you feeling happy. If you like outdoor workouts, you may need to find alternative ways to keep yourself fit during the colder months. For instance, sign up for a Pilates class, join a gym, or start working out at home.
Don’t ignore your winter blues. If feelings of fatigue and sadness are a common factor in your life, it’s time to seek some help and commit to taking better care of your health. So, take back control of your life and take the winter months back from seasonal affective disorder.
Photo Credit: Pexels
Appreciative thanks to our guest contributor
Kimberly Hayes, Chief blogger at publichealthalert.info