8 Ways To Minimize The Impact Of The Winter Blues
Welcome to the frozen tundra, where the mercury drops, the sunlight escapes us, and frozen precipitation limits our movement. Naturally, this can make people feel a bit down, tired, and even stressed. In more severe cases, this can bring on a type of depression that is related to the changes in seasons. This type of depression is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or the “Winter Blues”. For most people that experience SAD, it begins in late fall and ends in early spring. Researchers estimate that up to 20% of the population experience weather related symptoms. There are some steps that people can take to minimize the impact of SAD:
People who are used to walking, running, swimming or riding a bike outside tend to reduce their outdoor activity as the temperatures drop and precipitation (including the frozen stuff) increases. Exercise in any form has many benefits to your health and mood. It is very important to continue to exercise through the winter. This definitely will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
2.) Plan & Prepare
Before winter begins, take some time to plan activities and strategies that will help to minimize the impact of the season change. Keeping active and busy can really be very beneficial to your health. A little preparation and thinking ahead can really help to improve a potentially challenging time of year.
3.) Vitamin D
There is evidence that people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder have very low levels of Vitamin D. This is something worth discussing with your physician. They may recommend a supplement that includes Vitamin D.
4.) Sleeping Patterns
People who are impacted by the changing seasons often have irregular or poor sleeping patterns when the weather outside turns to winter. Maintaining a regular schedule improves sleep and in turn positively impacts your health.
A number of people state that utilizing oils and aromatherapy can have a positive impact on their mood, outlook and sleeping patterns. This may help to reduce the symptoms of the winter blues.
Even though it is cold outside, having exposure to sunlight outside and also inside your home can really brighten your day and improve your mood.
7.) California Dreaming (or Florida)
Getting away to a warm and sunny destination can have a very positive impact (even if it is only for a few days).
8.) Meet with a Professional
A licensed therapist or counselor can assist you in reducing the impact of the winter weather on your mental and physical health. They have many tools and strategies to help you to overcome the feelings of being down, sad or blue.
Dr. Lena Pearlman is the clinical director of Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates (STLmentalhealth.com). The practice specializes in stress, anxiety, depression and relationships. The team of eight therapists provides therapy and mental health counseling services to children, teens, adults, families and couples. For more information or to speak with a member of the team, please contact:
Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates