Note: This post has been contributed.
There is no getting away from the fact that the winter months can be difficult for many people when it comes to mental health.
With the temperatures dropping, shorter days, spending more time at home, it can lead to us feeling like we need to sleep longer, have changes in our appetite, and find the things we love less appealing.
As we go through the winter, we need to make sure that we think about the simple things we can do to help our mental health as well as spot the signs that we may need some additional support.
SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder
So, what is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? It is a form of depression that people experience at certain times of the year, it’s most common during winter. The majority of us are affected by the seasons changing, and it can be normal to feel a little sluggish in the wintertime, however, for others the effect it has on our energy labels and mood can be much more significant and impact everyday life. If we already face symptoms of depression at other points of the year, then these have the potential of being worst from SAD.
What Should You Do?
SAD is only one of the ways that the winter can have an impact on your mental health. Below are some self-care tips that you can follow to help you cope if you aren’t feeling yourself:
Do Something You Enjoy
Although you may not feel the motivation to get up and about to do something that you would enjoy, it’s one of the best ways to tackle feeling down. You could even try doing something new and looking at things such as A Beginner’s Introduction to the Basics of Woodturning or starting a cooking course online.
Make The Most Of Natural Light
Ok, so being outdoors through the winter won’t cure SAD. However, it is something that can help to ease it slightly. It is always worth making the effort to get some natural light in when you can.
Try To Avoid Stress
This can be easier said than done, and more people find that they experience more stress during the winter. If you find this time of the year more difficult, think about planning ahead and minimize the number of stressful activities you take on. If you know that something brings you more stress, could you organize it for another time of the year? Particularly huge tasks like moving home or changing your job.
Exercise And Eat Well
You should try to stay physically active in the winter. You may not feel like it all the time, however, physical activity is a really effective way of lifting your moos and improving your energy levels. You don’t have to do anything that is extremely strenuous, gardening, a gentle walk, or doing housework can even help. If you can do something outdoors, such as the countryside or park, it can be especially helpful.
A healthy diet is also something that is extremely important, and you should always try to balance the common SAD cravings for carbs, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of vegetables and fruit. For some people taking an extra Vitamin D or B12 supplement is helpful.
Do you have any other ways that help you stay positive during the winter? Please share them in the comments.