How To Feel Less Depressed This Winter
The winter season can be a dreary time for everyone. We spend more time bundled up. We avoid the cold weather by staying indoors. It can be easy to neglect our health during the winter months, but doing so increases the chances of feeling depressed. There are many ways to improve one’s health— both physically and mentally. In this week’s blog, we give seven suggestions to boost your mood during the winter months.
Exercise has many benefits, not all relating to physical health. Physical exercise is a big mental health booster and exercise is often referred to as a natural antidepressant. When you exercise, your brain releases a neurotransmitter called endorphins. Endorphins are known as the body’s natural painkillers. They help to relieve pain and create an overall feeling of happiness. Endorphins can be released in a multitude of ways, but the most efficient way is by performing exercise. During the winter, if you designate time to exercise, you will naturally increase your mood, therefore reducing your risk to the winter blues.
Get Outdoors Within The First 2 Hours Of Waking Up
Getting outside first thing in the morning helps improve your mood because sunlight increases the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that boosts mood and helps a person feel calm and focused. In addition to that, science shows our body responds differently when in nature. Certain research shows that spending time in nature, even just for 20 minutes, increases our mood, physical health, and even self-confidence. Being in nature also helps decrease our stress and anger levels.
Take Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for life. It helps keep our skeletal, immune, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems healthy. One of the most common ways to achieve an adequate amount of Vitamin D is by spending time in the sun. However during the winter months we are not spending as much time outdoors as we do in the summer, so we can expect to see a deficiency in this vitamin. Did you know that one of the main symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency is a decrease in your mood? If you are experiencing a lower mood during the winter months, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement to improve not only your Vitamin D levels, but to help increase your mood.
Practicing gratitude is a habit that is becoming more and more common in today’s day. One of the best ways to practice gratitude is through a gratitude journal. Simply get a journal and every day list at least 3 things you are grateful for and why it is you are grateful for them. Many people fail to talk about their “why” when the “why” is what explains your gratitude. Practicing gratitude daily is one of the best ways to help boost your mood. If you continuously list the things you are grateful for, you will constantly be on the lookout for more positive things. Rather than focusing on negativity, you will be attracting positivity due to the fact that you list those positive things every day.
Maintain Social or Virtual Connections
It can be easy to neglect a social life during the winter months, mainly because there is not much to do. However, neglecting a social life can decrease one’s mood almost instantaneously. We as humans are not meant to be alone, we are social beings that crave communication and connection. If you find yourself struggling to maintain a social life during the winter, consider setting more time aside for friends and family. It could be something as simple as a weekly coffee date or a daily phone call. Making connections with the people you love is one of the most efficient ways to remain happy all year long.
Talk To A Therapist
There is always someone to talk to, even if you believe there isn’t. If you are experiencing a winter depression, make time to talk to someone. There are both virtual therapists and in-person therapists that are willing to listen to whatever is it you have to say. Some people hear the word “therapist” and close down thinking that they don’t need someone to talk to. However, I firmly believe that no one should be embarrassed to talk to a therapist because it is one of the best ways to cope with life problems and stressors.
Mindfulness is becoming more and more of a daily practice for some people, while others may not know exactly what mindfulness is. Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining awareness of the present moment. People who are mindful do not look into the future or the past, rather they focus on where their feet are in the moment. Practicing mindfulness allows you to forget about the things you can’t change (the past) and shift your perspective into what you can change, the present.
All of these habits are effective in reducing one’s winter depression, however one of the most important ways to feel less depressed about the winter season is to remember that it is just a season. We only have a few more months of this weather until we get to enjoy the spring and summer months. Before you know it, we will be pulling out our bathing suits, buying beach badges, and exchanging our heat for air conditioning.
With that in mind, try to enjoy the little things of winter; the snow, the cozy ambiance, the holidays, and whatever other little joys you can discover. Take this time to rest and reflect before the new spring season starts. By looking for the positives, you will outshine the negatives and maybe even enjoy the winter a little more than you thought you would.