For many people, the winter could be a bit much. For these people, that’s pretty much the complaint that they have about the winter. But for some, roughly 3 percent of the British population, winter can bring on something known as winter blues –clinically known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
This condition is easily identified by a sense of crippling depression and lethargy that interferes with life and leads to suicidal thoughts. While it’s more common among women, men also have it. If you often struggle with the winter blues every year, the tips here just might help you feel much better and improve your mental health.
Have or Attend a Bonfire Night
Since the winter blues are often brought on by the prolonged darkness or nightfall, perpetually overcast weather, and the cold, spending a lot of time in a warm place can help lift some or all of that fog.
While you could turn on the heating in your home or spend time in front of the fireplace, a more effective activity might be to attend your city’s or town’s Bonfire Night. This is usually a lot of fun and often attended by many people. Plus, all that warmth and people can actually help ease your symptoms.
Use UV Lights
If you find yourself feeling really depressed during the winter season, talk to your doctor about it. One of the common recommendations is light therapy. This involves the use of a Lightbox or lamp that emits UV rays.
This works because seasonal affective disorder has been linked to the absence of UV rays from the sun. While there have been mixed results about this treatment protocol, some users have reported that their moods were better after using the Lightbox first thing in the morning.
This makes sense because exposure to UV rays from the sun in the morning increases the production of vitamin D. And vitamin D has been linked to improve moods. This is why you often feel much better and more awake after taking an early morning walk during sunrise.
Travel to a Sunny Destination
Some parts of Europe do not experience snowfall in the winter. For example, parts of Spain, southern Sicily, Cyprus, Portugal, Greece, the South of France, and the Canary Islands are usually sunny and have mild temperatures this time of year.
If you can travel state-side, consider visiting Florida and South California. And if you want to go far afield, consider Dubai. This can decidedly cure your winter blues as these destinations have mild winters. In fact, people who can afford it, often travel to sunny destinations when it gets cold in the UK.
Do Something Exciting for Yourself
It may be winter, but that doesn’t limit your options a lot. With a little creativity, you might be able to go do something exciting. Activity naturally helps improve your sense of well-being and lifts your mood. If you haven’t done anything fun in a while, it’s not too late to do something.
Some activities include beach walking, mountain biking, canyoning, horse riding, dog sledding, and indoor skiing or snowboarding. Other fun winter activities include ice skating, snowmobiling, ice climbing, and many more.
If you’re not into any of these, maybe do something personal for yourself like getting private plates for your car, buying a new TV –wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, do some clearance sale shopping, and start preparing for the spring and summer. Sometimes, having a plan for life after winter can help you endure and fight off the blues.
Did you know that sedentary people tend to be depressed? Multiple studies have shown that there’s an increased risk of depression among people with sedentary lifestyles when compared with their more active counterparts.
And since many people are often cooped up during winter, they tend to either just lie down or spend a lot of time on their bums. If you haven’t been exercising, winter is the best time to do so. You can work out in the comfort of your home or outside when the weather permits.
If you don’t have a gym membership, you need to get one now from a nearby location. This way, you can stay active and enjoy the mood-lifting rewards of dopamine and endorphins that flood your body after your exercise sessions. These hormones will help fight off the sad effects of seasonal affective disorder.
Get Proper Nutrition
Finally, ensure you’re getting adequate nutrition during winter. Buy and take vitamin d3 supplements for the winter. These can help your body produce more of those. Then, eat more vegetables, fruits, and healthy foods, and cut out the junk even if they’re more readily available.