Got a nasty case of the winter blues? Fret not, sister – help is at hand here, so put down that bowl of ice-cream and Game of Thrones DVD box set.
The winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a mood disorder which causes people to experience depressive symptoms in the winter, or in some cases, summer. Although why you’d ever be unhappy about warm weather is beyond me, but then again, I am a proud Queenslander.
Winter blues is a well-known phenomenon, particularly in the northern hemisphere where the poor peeps go for long periods without seeing any sunshine. Lack of direct sunlight (and consequently vitamin D) is known to cause depression. In Australia, we don’t have that problem to the same extent, but it seems people increasingly feel sad or depressed during winter – why?
Mental health experts say this could be due to physiological factors, for example: being in enclosed rooms (to keep the warmth in) leaves us more susceptible to catching colds and flu, leaving us feeling miserable. And there are psychological factors at play too, such as not going out and socialising as much when it’s colder, leading some people to feel lonely and isolated.
So, what can you do to ward off the winter blues? Here are five quick fixes:
- Little Miss Sunshine: The obvious one – get your coat on, baby, and get outside to catch some rays in the warmest part of the day. For Vitamin D will boost both your mood and your health. The “sunshine vitamin” is good for strong bones and teeth, fights disease and helps you feel sexy, vital and alive.
- You gotta keep moving: Winter is no excuse to stop exercising and start carb-loading as if your life depended on it (bugger). Get a personal trainer if your budget allows and if your motivation is sorely lacking; join a group exercise class, buddy up with a bestie or hit the weights/cardio equipment at the gym – anything which will boost your mood, give you happy endorphins as you sweat and make you look and feel great.
- Let’s talk about sex, baby: In an ideal world, sex would be a nice way to start the day, if only the likes of tiredness, toddlers and work commitments didn’t intervene. A good, early-morning session with your lover will provide immeasurable health benefits, plus it’s a form of exercise, right? And if you can reach the Big-O – this will instantly put you in a good mood even if it’s crazy cold weather outside.
- Let’s stay connected: Winter is no reason to neglect your close friendship circle and become BFFs with your doona. So, pick up your iPhone and make a date to catch-up with your friends – cocktails for all! Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel happy – not Debbie Downers – ain’t nobody got time for that. Alternatively, join a class, go to a library and/or a café – being around other like-minded people will boost your well-being.
- Mind, body, spirit: The colder weather is a great reason to try an indoors exercise class like yoga, body balance (yoga, pilates and tai chi) and/or take up meditation. Your mind, body and soul will love you for it and it will bring instant calm and relaxation benefits. I’m doing a lot of yoga and body balance classes at the moment and I’ve really noticed how much happier and more zen this makes me. Repeat after me, ommm…
What do you think? How do you combat the winter sads?
Images via good-kovka.com, hercampus.com