As some of you know, seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects more than 3 million people in the United States alone each year. Yikes! Although some are aware of the changes that they feel around the same time each year, some often just feel "stuck" and "disconnected", without realizing how much the weather (especially in Minnesota!) affects our bodies and moods.
Here are some tips to help fight the "winter blues".
1. Get plenty of Vitamin D. Our bodies crave Vitamin D, and in the winter we get SO much less of it. Get some Vitamin D tablets, or invest in a Light Therapy lamp. Here's an affordable one on Amazon:
2. Plan something. I'm not saying that you need to plan an all out, crazy expensive all-inclusive trip or cruise in the Caribbean. Although if you can afford it, now might be the time! I think one of the reasons why January through March tend to be so tough is largely due to lack of things to look forward to. The Holidays are long in the past, and Spring seems like an eternity from now. Even planning a little weekend getaway in a hotel or family members house will provide something to be excited about and look forward to.
3. Connect with others. I think this always comes up in articles about Depression, but it's something that people always forget about. Call your mom. Call your grandma. Call your sibling you don't keep in touch with that often. Connect via Facebook or Instagram, Send a Snapchats to your group of friends. Even though you are tempted to stay in Friday night through Sunday binge-watching the latest season of Orange is The New Black or Grace & Frankie, you will thank yourself later when you go out at least for dinner ONE night during the weekend and connect with some people you've probably been neglecting for a few months.
4. Rest. OK I know this one contradicts #3, but it's also important! Most of us spend summers in Minnesota completely frazzled, over-booked, and running from one BBQ to the next weekend stay at the cabin. One good thing about winter is that it gives us time to relax, stay in, and use those bath bombs and cat onesies that you got for Christmas.
5. Make lists. I know, lists are cheesy, but multiple studies have shown that one way to increase happiness is to remember what you're grateful for. Make a list (mental or hard-copy) every day or once per week that includes everything that's going well in your life. Thankful that you have a great job? Write it down. Thankful that your partner is supportive and helpful? Write it down.
On the other side of things, if your mind is full of "to-do's" that seem overwhelming, write those things down too. Often we feel like we have "way too much on our plates", and it begins to seem much more manageable as soon as we write it down. Cross off one "to-do" item each week, and three weeks from now you will be looking pretty productive.
For questions or more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-421-0180