The Winter Blues, or its sibling, Seasonal Affective Disorder are one of the main reasons this season sucks. I hate Winter. I try to be a positive person, but, I struggle at this time of year. It’s too cold to wear shorts, too cloudy to enjoy the views and usually too wet for a good walk.
You might think of relocating to France as a solution but in reality, this region of France (Poitou-Charente) gets just as, if not colder and greyer than the UK.
So how do I deal with SAD?
1 Wake Up, Shower and Get Ready (even if you have nothing to get ready for)
It’s so easy when you feel blue to stay in bed. Why get up when it’s cold and miserable, right? WRONG. Making the positive push to get up can shift your mindset to a better place. Staying in bed is just a way to wallow in self-pity. I know, because I do it regularly and it never makes me feel better.
2 Use a Daylight Alarm Clock
Alarm clocks like the Lumie body clock are perfect at waking you up right. A sunrise alarm clock is a great way to “fake” the time of day and get your body and mind in a routine. I know how hard it is waking up in the dark, going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark, etc. Fake some sunshine in your life. I had a cheap sunrise clock from Groupon and I definitely recommend buying a decent one like the Lumie as you can tell the difference.
Go for a walk. Firstly, it’s a great way to get vitamin D. Secondly, exercise is a mood booster. Exercise has so many benefits. Want to sleep better? Exercise. Want to feel better? Exercise. I know going out in this weather isn’t appealing, but just try a 5-minute walk and work it up from there.
4 Go on Holiday
I need one. I can’t afford one, but always, at the end of January, I am craving the feeling of sand between my toes. Beautiful blue waves crashing on the shore. Giant beds with all the room to sprawl. And, well, just a holiday. If you’re in the financial position, then booking a short break next month to a place like the canary islands (eternal spring) will give you something to look forward to. Plus, it's a hit of much-needed vitamin D.
There are lots of guided meditations out there specifically for SAD. Meditation increases serotonin levels and can have a similar effect on your brain as taking antidepressants. Don’t believe the power of meditations? Give it a try. I started meditating with the Calm and Headspace apps but, there’s also lots of YouTube videos for SAD sufferers.
6 Bath & Relax
Since moving to Poitou-Charente I haven’t had a bath. We don’t have one. It sucks. This time of year is definitely the time for warm baths with; bubbles, bombs, books and music. It’s the time for R&R. Time to be alone. Honestly, if you have a bath - don’t take it for granted.
7 Get A Light Lamp or Light Therapy Glasses
A Light Lamp or Light Therapy Glasses are designed with fluorescent lights. You sit in front of the lamp (or wear the glasses) for around 30 minutes a day. It should be used in the morning to avoid messing with sleep. Light therapy lamps are perfect for people who live in low light places like the UK.
8 Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D are a recognised cause of SAD. If you’re not seeing enough sunshine in the daytime then it would be beneficial to start supplementing Vitamin D.
9 Spend Time on Your Hobbies
I enjoy writing. Which is why I’m writing this. Honestly, I’ve felt terrible the last few days and I’d let myself get sucked in by the Winter blues - but I thought, what’s the best way to pull myself out of this funk? Writing. More specifically, writing about the ways to help fight it. Whatever your hobby, if it makes you feel good, spend some time on it.
10 Go To The Doctor
If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re not feeling any better then head to your doctor. Don’t let anyone tell you SAD is in your head. It’s a real condition. If you feel like it’s more than mild winter blues getting you down - don’t ignore it - get some help.