When The Winter Blues Set In, Simple Steps Can Make All The Difference
As the gloss of the holiday season starts to fade, a lot of people struggle to find their feet for the rest of the winter. The holidays aren’t an easy time for everyone but, even if they are the most wonderful time of the year for you, there can be a hollow spot left in their wake. Struggling from the winter blues is not unusual — and there’s a lot you can do to help get through the coldest, darkest months of the year a little more smoothly.
Firstly, though, it’s important to differentiate between the winter blues — a normal, seasonal dip in your mood — and seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder is, of course, related to the seasons, but it’s also a serious strain of depression and warrants professional attention. But if you just find that you feel a little lethargic, low, or not quite yourself this time of year, then winter blues may be to blame.
“Less sunlight can affect the circadian rhythm, the body’s biological clock that governs certain brain wave activity and hormone production,” Everyday Health explains. ” If you’re human, chances are you’ve woken up on a grey, wintry day and wanted to stay in bed. For older people, and for folks with a condition like Raynaud’s phenomenon who are sensitive to the cold, it’s even tougher.”
If this sounds like you, then it’s important to understand what’s at the root of the problem — less sunlight and colder temperatures. One might bother you more than the other, but these are the two crucial issues to combat.
First, you can deal with the lack of sunlight in two ways — both by exposing yourself to more sunlight when possible and controlling your artificial light indoors. Try to get as much outdoor time as possible and avoid too much screentime and blue light inside. You might even want to try a sunlamp, which helps make up for the light deficit, while you’re indoors. If you struggle to get out of your bed in the winter (as so many do), some light-based alarm clocks will replicate dawn to help you feel like you’re waking up with the sun.
Secondly, the cold itself can have a huge effect on you, one that you might not always notice settling in. Cold can not only make you feel more tired, it can also prevent us from following our normal schedule. Things that normally make us feel our best and most like ourselves — socializing, hobbies, and exercising — can suddenly feel like a chore to be avoided rather than a source of nourishment. If this is the case, you want to try to stay to your normal routines as much as possible.
Try making yourself buddy up with people who you don’t want to let down and don’t underestimate how much simply dressing more appropriately can make a difference. If you have the clothes and necessary accessories to make the winter feel less bitter, you’re more likely to do the things that make you feel like you.
We all struggle with the winter months in different ways — while some love the cold and relish in the winter activities, more often than not it can feel like a slog. So make sure to allow yourself the release of hibernating a little, without letting go of your normal routine altogether. Simple steps are often more effective than you’d expect.