The winter blues (also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a complex feeling many experience as winter hits, seasons change, colder weather bites and the evenings become longer and darker. It is a real condition, despite what those who do not experience it may think and by all accounts appears to affect 2 million people in the UK alone. That’s a lot of people feeling sad, down, depressed and lacking in energy just because of the time of year.
Many fear the feeling and dread winter coming, prolonging their heightened stress levels (which is as you know is not good for you). Signs that you might be struggling, or that a loved one is struggling can be one or more of the following:
- feelings of sadness
- less energy
- sleep issues
- concentration issues
- appetite changes
- wanting to hide away (hibernate)
- relationship pressures – home, work
The thing to remember, everyone is different. The effects can change as the season moves on, for some its the initial change that hits them, and once they are settled into a new pattern of life they do not feel it as badly. For others the long months take their toll and it’s the feeling of never ending that really affects them.
We can take positive action to ease SAD. Obviously as with any condition I always advise you seek medical help, these tips are for those who have done so, or who like to take action themselves. All of the list above can be factors in other conditions (another reason for getting yourself medical advice).
For selfcare, I work with clients looking at :
- FUN: keep in touch with friends, sounds obvious, but its very easy in the winter months to withdraw. The beauty (if there is one) of lockdowns is that we learnt how to keep in touch with friends remotely, messaging, zoom parties all helping us to maintain communication when its too cold or tricky to go out and meet.
- FUN: listen to your favourite music, dance around the house (its okay no-one is watching, and if they are get them to join in!)
- FITNESS: keep moving. stay active. Get outside into natural daylight as much as you can. This might mean juggling your day a little to make the most of daulight hours, but it will be worth it! I love the look of this SAD lamp for the days you can’t get into natural daylight
- NUTRITION: eat well, eat seasonally and keep hydration levels topped up. We talk about drinking water, but in the winter this may not seem as appealing, if that’s you swap it for herbal tea, or ginger/lemon slices in warm water.
- REST: sleep disruption effects your daytime and nighttime mood, create better sleep patterns by practising good sleep hygiene.
- RELAXATION : this is my bag! Selfcare is so important, from massage to boost circulation and blood flow, meditation, reading to watching funny films our relaxation time is crucial. Something that soothes, something that calms and something that brings joy.
- MINDSET: if you are a Negative Nelly or a Positive Poppy will reflect in your mindset aka how you approach life. Having a positive outlook on life is important and through activities such as vision boards, goal setting, exploring your dreams you have never even voiced out loud I can help you turn from a Nelly to a Poppy. Take a look at the Radiance planner for some hints and more tips.
By taking charge of your routines, and having a plan to work to, I’m not going to claim you can get over SAD, but you can certainly feel its easier to deal with most days and to be easier on yourself on the harder days.
Want to know more about Radiance and how I can help you get through the winter – book a free 20 minute review