I didn’t realise until a few years ago that the ‘winter depression’ was actually a thing and that I wasn’t the only person that experienced it. I’m hesitant to call what I have seasonal affective disorder (or SAD – the acronym makes it sound even more depressing!) as I haven’t been properly diagnosed, but most of my symptoms correlate. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that comes during certain seasons, mainly winter.
I’ve always loved summer and never quite understood how anyone could ever enjoy the cold winter months, being tangled up in 10 layers and most of your day being dark. The only thing I really enjoyed about winter was Christmas, Halloween, the festive spirit and the snow. Although this year has been a lot better (I’m loving autumn/winter fashion at the moment!), I’m definitely still more of a summer girl: I love waking up to the sunlight beaming through the peeps of my blinds onto my bed, the warmth, the summer euphoria and all the activities that come along with it.
Throughout the years, I’ve always found my mood to be a lot lower during winter. I lack energy like no other, just feeling so fatigued in everything I do; I hate the artificial lights throughout the day, when my house lights being turned on in the morning when I wake up and in the early afternoon to evening; and I would struggle to get up every day so badly – I craved the warmth of my bed and the fact that it was dark outside at 7am just really upset me. I find that even if it’s summer and it’s dark and rainy outside, I don’t have energy throughout the day either! Through all of this, I’ve found some coping mechanisms that have helped me, especially in the transitioning stages of autumn to winter. If you feel you struggle with ‘winter depression’ or think you have or do have SAD, here are my favourite things to do to pick up the energy.
Make sure you have some light coming into your room in the morning for as long as you can
I refuse to have proper room-darkening blinds. I hate waking up in darkness and love having light come into my room. I currently have wooden blinds that let speckles of light seep through into the room when it’s daylight outside, so waking up for the past few weeks where it’s still daylight at 8 o’clock has been really nice. I know that will change soon, but it helps in the transition period!
Fill the space you work in with as much light as possible
I personally hate artificial light and try to rely on staying near a window for as long as possible, but sometimes it’s still a bit too dark. Turn the light on instead of being stuck in darkness! It sounds so simple, but even if it’s light outside, sometimes working with a light on brings my energy up.
This I have discovered recently – not working out for a day really lowers my mood a lot, so working out throughout the winter could be the key to your problems. Exercise helps with stress levels (which is perfect for this day and age) and is just good for your overall health. I have found that my ‘winter depression’ has gone ever so slightly when I work out, so I would definitely give it a go (and for those who want a certain body for the summer, this is your time to start working!)
Stay outdoors when you can
Don’t just sit by a window – go outside! Again, this sounds so simple but it’s really effective. Just taking a little walk around and getting those steps in helps you not only expose yourself to sunlight, but again, relive stress. I’ve been craving going outdoors more this year because we’re missing out on so much due to coronavirus, so during lockdown, I’ll be taking more walks around my local area to keep my spirits up.
Maintain a balanced diet
It can be so difficult to reach for carbohydrates all the time during the winter – its ‘cosy food.’ And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with eating carbs! Just remember to eat in moderation. Try and find warm alternative foods like soup and porridge to eat. But also remember that Christmas is coming and you can splurge all you want then! Also, if you fancy comfort food, eat comfort food but remember to balance it out with healthier alternatives (more healthy than unhealthy!)
If you want to read more information on SAD, click here. Make sure to ask for help if you struggle severely with any of the symptoms. Stay safe and well!
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