The winter blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as it’s more commonly known, affects everyone in different ways. In winter especially as the days are so short and the temperatures drop well below freezing, it’s important to have strategies focused on keeping the mind and body active. Here are four ways to help cope with the winter blues:
1. Get outside
Studies have shown that a even a thirty minute walk at lunch time can improve our moods significantly. Getting outside into the natural daylight as much as possible is extremely important. Just remember to dress for the weather!
2. Keep active
Keeping active both mentally and physically is crucial for the winter months. In the summer it takes almost no effort to get out for an after-dinner stroll, or hop on your bike for a spin around the park but in winter, while it takes a little bit more planning, outdoor activity has the same emotional and physical benefits.
Try picking up a new hobby such as learning how to play bridge, knit a scarf (or mittens!), join a gym, take up a dance class or begin a journal. Keeping the mind active and having something to concentrate on and look forward to has numerous benefits.
3. Stay warm
Studies have shown that being cold can increase the symptoms of the winter blues, while keeping your body warm can reduce those symptoms by half! So bring on the soups, stews, tea and hot cider! Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).
Socializing has been shown to be good for your mental health as well as helps ward off the winter blues. Meet a friend for coffee, invite them over to dinner, pick up the phone or write a letter. Make an effort to keep in touch with the people that you care about. Most important, while it may be tempting to stay in and cozy up on the couch every night, accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you just go for a short while, the benefits will be great.