For those of us in seasonal weather, the leaves have fallen, the sun goes down in the middle of the afternoon and we are getting cold. The winter brings new challenges and can make existing struggles even worse, so let's put some work into preparing now so we are ready as we head further into winter.
Here is what we are up against:
10 million people in the US alone experience what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). There is a clear pun we could make here, but it is too cold for jokes. SAD is a type of depression brought on by this seasonal change that brings bouts of sadness, sluggishness and weight fluctuation. Recent studies have found the people with ADHD could be even more at risk of SAD, especially women and those diagnosed as inattentive sub-type.
So if you are feeling a bit off right now, it just might be because of the weather. Perhaps that is where the term "under the weather" comes from.
So what can we do about SAD? How can we prepare for or even avoid it?
Well, turns out keeping to a schedule is the highest recommended option according to research, so here at Brili you are already on the right track. At Brili however, we don't just settle for any old schedule and routine, we strive to provide you with the best routines whatever the occasion calls for.
We have put together a comprehensive list of activities you can insulate and fortify your routines with this winter. Try to add some of these:
- Create a list of mood-boosting activities and make sure to schedule at least 1 of them in you daily routines. This will help you keep the energy up as the temperature goes down.
- Make sure your routines allow you to get some vitamin D. Whether it is regular walks in the winter sun, vitamin D supplements, an artificial bright light therapy lap or all three, make sure you keep up with it.
- Social activities are a big one. Make sure to schedule plenty of calls with friends and keep up to date with the family. Stuck in for a storm? Invite your neighbors over for coffee. Even if it's cold, make sure you get out for lunch or dinner with others, social isolation and depression have been found to have a causal relationship.
- Aromatherapy could be an excellent addition to your winter self-care routine with scents that relax and remind you of warmer times. "When it comes to SAD in particular, essential oils could potentially influence the area of the brain that's responsible for controlling moods and the body's internal clock that influences sleep and appetite" says adjunct professor of psychology at Columbia University in New York City Dr. Kalayjian.
- It may be cold, but outdoor exercise is one of the best ways you can combat SAD. Regular movement breaks integrated into your daily work routine could make a huge difference. Too cold? Workout inside by your biggest window.
- Consider lowering your alcoholic intake. Drinking can exacerbate depression so next time you stop at the liquor store, buy less.
Start today by integrating one of the above approaches into each of your morning, workday and evening routine and build them into habits by deep winter, we really like your chances!