Winter has arrived. It is the time when Nights are becoming longer and Days are getting shorter. Winter also comes with the delicious taste of various food, the warmth of friendly touch, talk around the bonfires, and comfort at home. In the words of Anamika Mishra, “Winter is not a season, it is a celebration“.
But it also comes with some ‘winter blues’ or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that may have huge impacts on mental and physical well-being, especially in old people.
According to a study, around 10 to 20% of the world population experience the “winter blues.” Out of them, some are severely affected and suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression related to colder weather and not having enough sunlight, causing increased melatonin levels and lower serotonin levels, often resulting in low mood & energy, sleeping problem, and craving starchy foods.
The reduced light, warmth, and color of the winter leave many people feeling depressed and anxious. The quality of your life can be affected by these winter blues.
But the good news is that we can ward off SAD just as part of our daily routine. Here, we are giving seven ways to keep the winter blues at bay. Try these tips to help yourself to cope with these feelings.
1. Move your body and Go outside in the sunlight
In winters, the body becomes stiff and lazy, so to stay happy and healthy, move your body and go out and take every opportunity to expose yourself to the sunlight. There are several benefits of taking sun rays in winters:
- Your serotonin level is raised by natural sunlight. Serotonin is a chemical found in the brain and is responsible for the feeling of happiness and alertness.
- Sunlight boosts the production of vitamin D in your body. Many people nowadays are deficient in vitamin D due to lack of exposure to sunlight. For absorption of calcium in your body, Vitamin D, is required. Vitamin D is also needed to boost your immune system.
So, go outside and expose yourself to the sun at least for 10 to 30 minutes. Early morning sunlight exposure is best for you. This is also your chance to reconnect with nature.
2. Eat right to keep away the winter blues
Winter is the time to eat verities of food. But eating right is very important in the months of winter. Taking nutrient-rich food help to boost your immune systems and prevent your body from harmful pathogens.
A diet containing some essential minerals & vitamins like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B6, B12, D, and omega-3 are required to elevate your mood and overcome anxiety & seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
3. Have fun with your Social circle
Your friends and close relatives are important peoples in reducing anxiety & isolation and helps in managing the SAD. So, recall your old buddies and participates in social activities to have some fun. Even you have lost your terms with them, make the effort to reconnect or start new relationships.
If your best friends or relatives are not around just growing your social connections, connecting with them will increase your mood and your levels of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin (also called happy hormones). Join some exciting events near you. Meet with new people having a common interest, join any club or classes, go for holidays, organize parties, and enjoy your life.
But take extra care to keep away the toxic and negative people from you at any cost.
4. Take sound sleep
To keep yourself happy and healthy, a night of sound sleep is necessary. To get a peaceful sleep, first, you need to stop looking at your phone and TV. Ideally, you should silent or put away your phone one hour before and try to relax.
You can try reading a book before sleep, or even add a little meditation into your night-time routine.
Experiment and see what work for you, but lay off the screens!
5. listen to music to overcome anxiety & depression
Music therapy is a perfect way to relax your mind. Music has a therapeutic action to instantly boost your mood and make you calm & relaxed. Research shows music can reduce depression and anxiety by up to 65%. Music also helps us to feel all emotions of our life.
6. Do Meditation to keep away the winter blues
Like yoga, meditation also has antidepressant effects, especially when practiced regularly over time. Meditation activates calming hormones and suppresses stress hormones by stimulating the pineal gland. Doing regular meditation is an excellent antidote to SAD and decreases the stress and anxiety-producing activities of the brain.
Meditation can boost your energy. Begins with small sessions. Start your practice five to ten minutes in the morning and before you sleep at night. Just sit quietly in a silent environment and take slow and deep breaths. Focus your breathing for 5 to 10 minutes daily and slowly increase your time of meditation.
Research shows that meditation induces better focus and concentration, improved self-awareness and self-esteem. It also relaxes your body and mind.
7. Lighting your home
When sunlight is not quite enough in winter, a good amount of artificial lighting in your home can help to overcome seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Bright white LED lights that imitate bright daylight are thought to be the most effective lights to brighten your home.
Typically, light therapy is meant to compensate for the lack of exposure to sunlight that is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns like SAD.
During light therapy, you have to sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. This box offers bright light that mimics natural sun light. Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.
The best way to overcome winter blues is to enjoy the winter season. In winters, our body and mind become sluggish and struggle to remain energized due to the change in weather. These winter blues can be gradual at first and slowly progress over time.
Breaking out of a seasonal slump isn’t easy, but by engaging yourself in the activities given above, you can keep the Winter Blues at Bay!
If you are still struggling with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or your symptoms get worsen, talk to your friend, someone in your family, or take professional help from a physician.
Stay warm and well this winter.