Winter is a difficult season for many people. The cold and short days are big deterrents that can make the season feel like it lasts too long. The elements can make people feel stuck inside without anything to do. This can lead to seasonal affective disorder or “winter blues”. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is like depression but occurs during the Fall and Winter. Some symptoms are low energy, losing interest in activities, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and changes in appetite. Furthermore, with less sunshine, the days feel even longer, which contributes to some of the symptoms of SAD.
1. Embrace the season
This is the time to enjoy the season and everything it has to offer. Plan times to go participate in outdoor sports, holiday baking, and find fun activities to enjoy indoors. Not everyone enjoys the cold temperatures of the season, therefore, indoor activities are ways to keep the winter blues away. These activities could be taking up a craft, like knitting or card making, or making a list of TV shows and movies to watch, or listening to upbeat and cheerful music. This is the time to indulge in healthy activities that you love. For other ways to embrace the season, check out this resource.
2. Keep Active
The winter season is difficult for many because of the frigid weather. This keeps many indoors, which can contribute to “cabin fever.” Instead, try planning times to go ice skating, sledding, skiing, or just having fun in the snow. Reward yourself with a hot cup of your favorite beverage. Getting outside and breathing fresh air is incredibly refreshing and can help reset your motivation. It allows your body and brain to function at full capacity with fresh air. Studies have found that spending time outside during the winter season allows for better relaxation, reduced mental stress, and can increase confidence levels. Furthermore, outdoor activities help fuel imagination and creativity.
3. Stay in Touch
Keeping connected to friends and family during the winter season and the stay-at-home order can be particularly challenging. Despite these challenges, it is critical to maintain these relationships. Video chats and Zoom calls are one outlet that can make communication easier. Another route that you can take is establishing a shared family photo album. This is a fun way to keep your friends and family updated on events occurring in your life. Here are a variety of other unique ways to stay connected with your friends and family.
The “Winter Blues” is hard to keep away this year. With long nights and short days, it is easy to fall into a repetitive lull. With the application of these tips, seasonal depression will stay out of your way. Keeping active, staying in touch with relatives and friends, and embracing the season are all ways to help find purpose this winter.
At Wayzata Bay Wellness, we focus on the unique challenges of those in high-pressure careers in Minnesota as the intensity of these jobs can lead to anxiety about performance, stress, exhaustion, burnout, and limited time and energy for relationships outside of work. This can result in a shrinking support network and frustrated partners, which is why we also focus on the families of such individuals.