The following article was shared with me recently. It comes from an email sent out by The Village at Orchard Ridge, which is part of the National Lutheran Communities.
We may not have had much of a winter with regards to cold temperatures and snow, but we still have to deal with shorter days, longer nights, and less sunshine. Below you will find some strategies to help you cope with the winter blues.
It’s easy to feel down during these gray winter months. Are the cloudy days and early nights making you feel a bit moodier than usual? You may be living with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that some people experience during a particular season and most commonly felt during the winter months. Some of the common symptoms include low energy, excessive sleeping, changes to appetite or diet and feeling depressed, sluggish or anxious. If you are feeling these effects, the first thing to know is that you are not alone. About 10 million Americans are affected by SAD and women are four times as likely to be diagnosed with it than men.
Five Tips to Boost Your Mood:
Chin up! There are ways to help these symptoms and get you feeling more like yourself.
1. A healthy diet
Did you know that maintaining a healthy diet is also beneficial to your mental health? A diet rich in protein, simple carbohydrates, vitamins B12 and D can actually help you combat the symptoms of SAD. So, next time you feel low, indulge in your favorite pasta dish to help you feel better. Ensuring you eat meals regularly throughout the day can also help boost your mood and energy levels, so it is important to feed your body, even when you have little appetite.
Exercising regularly has also been shown to help mental health and fight off some symptoms of SAD. Taking an hour-long walk, a yoga or tai chi class as they are simple ways to get exercise while increasing your happiness and decreasing feelings of anxiety.
Aromatherapy is using essential oils as a therapeutic technique. This includes body oils, incense, aroma sticks and oil diffusers. Studies have shown aroma therapy can help to reduce depression, anxiety and sleep problems. All of the issues are associated with SAD.
4. Good thinking
Did you know that simply thinking more positively can boost your mood? We aren’t always aware of how negative our thoughts may be, which can make a situation worse. Being more conscious of your thoughts and actively challenging your mind to think positively can help reduce stress while increasing your happiness.
5. Stick to a sleep schedule
Common symptoms of SAD are having issues when it comes to falling asleep and waking up in the morning. Maintaining a schedule for your day helps to keep you in a routine, leading to improved sleep at night. A good night’s sleep can help to alleviate SAD symptoms.