It’s that time of year again where the winter blues (aka SAD) becomes a very real thing.
Eleven million Americans struggle with winter depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder. While the days being shorter and the weather being gloomier can trigger anxiety and depression, there are some strategies that can help you cope with SAD.
1. Eat Chocolate
Good, no, great news: Studies show that chocolate actually decreases anxiety and depression because it gives you feelings of euphoria. So whenever you feel the winter blues start to creep up on you, grab that emergency chocolate stash.
2. Brighten the House
Open up your blinds, turn on your lights, and decorate your house with cheery things because light can help in combating depression. Light exposure is said to increase serotonin levels in the brain, thus potentially creating a foundation that would allow for you to be in a better mood.
If you are anything like me, the idea of exercising in the winter sounds like a lot of work and very cold. Why on earth would you leave your warm and cozy home in the dead of winter to exercise? But don’t knock it until you try it — studies show that exercising improves a person’s mood immensely. Even though outdoor exercise will help decrease SAD the most, you can also exercise indoors as well. Do some crunches in your living room or YouTube yoga videos. Just try and stay active!
4. Keep a Schedule
Having a consistent schedule helps people sleep better, which could help anyone struggling with seasonal depression. Try sticking to a consistent morning and bed time routine and note the impact it has on your mood.
5. Do Things You Enjoy
Keep yourself busy with things you enjoy doing. Even on days when it may be especially difficult to get out of the house due to weather, try to get as creative as possible and have fun while inside.
Keeping yourself busy or creating a bright environment that rivals the gloominess that’s outside during the winter may be a good first step to helping with your SAD. If things get too rough, though, know that you’re not alone and that there are other mental health resources that can be potentially available for you.