7 Tips to Beat the “Winter Blues”
Health experts are concerned about this upcoming winter and for good reason. The Winter Blues are brought on by shorter daylight hours and grey skies of winter. Oversleeping, overeating, social withdrawal, sadness, and decreased energy are some of the main symptoms of depression. Winter blues is a general term, not a medical diagnosis. It’s fairly common, and it’s more mild than serious. It usually clears up on its own in a fairly short amount of time. The so-called winter blues are often linked to something specific, such as stressful holidays or reminders of absent loved ones.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the Winter Blues, Persistent sadness, low energy, or an overall worsening mood during wintertime. I offer these seven tips:
Let the sun in
Brighten the space you are in by allowing as much sunlight into your home or space as possible.
Open your curtains and blinds in the morning and sit near the windows if possible. Exposure to natural light can help improve your mood and energy level.
Try to participate in activities like outdoor walking. Getting regular exercise and activity can be especially powerful in combating low moods and energy.
Maintain a regular schedule
Make a plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Stick to regular healthy mealtimes throughout your day.
Regular, consistent routines will help keep your mood on track and make sure your mind and body’s need for rest and nutrition is met so that you can address other potential causes of worsening mood or low energy.
Try light therapy
If you think you need more exposure to light then a light therapy box may be an option. In light therapy, patients generally sit in front of a light box every morning for 30 minutes or more, depending on the doctor’s recommendation. The box shines light much brighter than ordinary indoor lighting.
Studies have shown that light therapy can relieve symptoms for as much as 70% of patients after a few weeks of treatment. Some improvements can be detected even sooner. Using a light therapy box in the morning can have dramatic effects on your mood and energy level throughout the day. Make sure you get approval from your health care provider and that it is a full spectrum of natural light.
Find an activity that you like
Finding and pursuing activities that bring you some enjoyment can help you manage your daily stress. Set aside some relaxation time and self-care daily if possible.
Stay connected to loved ones
Isolation can be a major contributor to worsening mood and energy levels, and greater social isolation and disconnection are harmful to our overall well-being.
Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic, with health experts cautioning against big gatherings and encouraging social distancing, is impeding quality time spent with loved ones outside your household. But when in-person interaction isn’t possible, call or text your loved ones, or have video chats with them.
Get Professional Support
If these steps don’t help and taking care of yourself doesn’t seem to be improving your mood or energy level, some therapies and medications used for depression can be very helpful in treating seasonal depression, “Winter Blues.” Your primary health care provider can help guide you to appropriate mental health support services.
If you have thoughts of suicide, get help right away. Call the toll-free:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)