As a teen growing up in Cache Valley, I loved summer. The outdoor possibilities were endless. However, I couldn’t understand why my mood took such a terrible hit in October and November. As an adult and many years later, I do now!
Do you dread the thought of winter? Its long nights and short, hazy, or foggy days? Does the thought of snow and cold make you long for the warmth of spring with its longer days and beautiful green grass?
If so, this blog is for you.
How to Beat Winter
Over the years I’ve noticed that many, many people struggle with their mood in winter. In fact, health care professionals have even created a term for it. That is, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Here’s 5 solid ways to turn winter from your sworn enemy to your BFF.
Get Out of the House
Sitting in your home and lamenting winter from November through March isn’t going to help. In fact, it will only make you detest winter more. Definitely move your body!
Get To the Gym
Exercise during winter will help you fight the feeling of low energy and lethargy. You don’t have to be a gym rat to get a significant boost to your mood and motivation. Just be consistent and take it one easy/moderate/challenging workout at a time.
We all know the benefits of getting summer sun in moderation on our bodies. The sun promotes vitamin D development which enhances our mood. It stands to reason that if you hole up inside all winter your mood will take a significant hit. Get outside, even in January, to feel better.
Get Out of Dodge
While many of us would love to live in St. George or even Phoenix during the winter, that isn’t feasible for most. What is feasible is taking a vacation down south. Whether it’s St. George, Phoenix, or even Honolulu, definitely get of out Dodge. Your mood and motivation will love you for it!
Get To the Mountains
When the inversion season hits (and it will), most people find the weather intolerable. Want a solution? Simply get to the mountains. Getting above the inversion will revitalize you as the sun feels amazing. Whether it’s to ski, snowshoe, or just to drive to Park City, you’ll definitely feel a benefit when the sun warms your face.
A Parting thought
These five ways to change your thinking about winter will definitely help. Choose 2 of the 5 and do them consistently. You WILL feel a difference!
While this is a likely a subject for another blog post, eating healthier, getting adequate (don’t over do it!) sleep, and surrounding yourself with emotionally healthy people will also pay you wonderful winter benefits.
Michael Boman, LCSW is a therapist with 18+ years experience working with individuals, couples, and families. He is also a believer in exercise and taking care of oneself. He welcomes your comments.
As the seasons change from the light filled days of summer to the shorter cooler days of fall, many people begin to notice a change in the way that they feel. For some people, they feel invigorated and energized by the cooler weather; however, for others these shorter days lead to feeling less motivated. And still, for others the onset of cooler weather is just the precursor to the “winter blues”, a condition formerly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Regardless of the timing of depression, it’s an experience that can feel isolating and hopeless. However, there are things that we can do to help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
Humans are connected beings, we need connection to survive and we especially need it thrive. Strengthening our connections with those around us can help with the feelings of isolation and being alone. What do we do if we don’t have strong connections in place? Looking for ways to connect that are a little more unconventional than the traditional family, friends, and coworker relationships is one place to start. For example, there are meet up groups for all kinds of different hobbies that are open to people. Faith communities are ways to connect with people that have the same ideological and theological beliefs. Volunteering allows an array of engagement opportunities that also provide a sense of worth and giving back. However, even engaging in an activity that provides peripheral contact can be beneficial; going to the same coffee shop every morning on your way to work and engaging the barista in small talk is a step towards making a connection.
The coffee shop stop leads us to another way to combat depression…getting out. Yep, it might be the last thing that you want to do when you are in the midst of a depressive episode, but it is one that can provide a quick pick me up. Finding options that require us to leave the safety and confines of our couch can be as exciting or as calming as we choose. Going for a quick 10 minute walk around the block, going to the bookstore to pick up the latest novel from your favorite author, or taking that pottery class you’ve always wanted to try…they all require that we step away from our comfort zone.
Exercise is also a great way to combat depression. Exercise gets our blood flowing and heart pumping that leads to a release of those feel good endorphins that help balance our emotions. Want to up the anti depressive effects? Exercise outside in the sunshine, there are currently studies that hypothesize that vitamin D deficiencies are
linked to depression, though that has been proven yet. However, light therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for SAD.
Lastly, talk therapy with a trained therapist that can help you deal with your individual symptoms is also an effective option when you are having depressive episodes that aren’t being effectively mitigated by diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Having a person that will listen and help you develop and implement changes and coping skills into your life can be invaluable as you traverse a trying time but you don’t have to do it alone. Wasatch Family Therapy offers therapists for all ages to meet your individual needs, to make an appointment call 801-944-4555 today.
With our recent snowstorm, my ability to pretend winter isn’t a thing, has quickly evaporated.On sunny days I get through the winter by making sure I spend plenty of time standing in front of my south facing windows soaking up the warmth that shines through.On overcast days it can be more of a challenge.Add in the stress of holiday shopping and parties and expectations, and winter can be a bit of a downer (to say the least).Here are a few suggestions to help cope with winter blues:
The winter months can bring excitement and joy as we celebrate the holidays, decorate the tree, and spend time with our loves ones. However, it can be quite a different experience for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD). For these individuals, winter can be a time of gloom, despair, and hopelessness.
Does your mood take a nose dive during the winter months? In this new post for ShareCare I give a few ideas for beating seasonal depression. Here’s a preview…
“During the winter months, about 15% of Americans suffer from a mood disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD symptoms are similar to those of depression—feelings of sadness, low energy, sleep problems, irritability, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, anxiety, social isolation and, in severe cases, suicidal thoughts. The difference between general depression and SAD is that sufferers generally gain weight and only experience depression symptoms during a specific and recurring time of the year.
Seasonal depression impacts significantly more women than men. Among people with SAD, 60 to 90% are women, and females between the ages of 15 and 55 are at highest risk.
In my clinical experience, most people with this problem wait too long before seeking help. If you have many of the symptoms above, or if you think you might have SAD, I encourage you to get a medical or mental health evaluation. If you are suffering from SAD there are treatments that can help you feel better.”
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