As the days get shorter and we see the sun for less and less time, many people begin to experience a sort of melancholy. They might feel depressed, irritable, and generally out-of-sync while going through their daily routines. Much like the weather, our mood can darken. The changing weather can affect us all!
You might know these moods as “seasonal effective disorder” or (appropriately enough) SAD. Experts believe the changing weather causes SAD because our bodies can’t make vitamin D from the sunshine. There are many ways you can fight these feelings holistically.
Get Out Into The Sunshine While You Can
No indoor UV lamp can replicate the effects of the sun. If you’re feeling depressed, find as many opportunities for brief outdoor walks during daylight as you can. This will help the body create vitamin D naturally. A half an hour of sun and fresh air can do wonders for your mood, not to mention your overall health!
Start Your Day With Exercise Or Stretching
Physical activity can relieve mild forms of depression while increasing your energy. Exercise produces natural endorphins, and these improve sleep and mood to combat many of the mental health issues experienced during the winter. If it’s too cold out, try an indoor exercise like yoga.
Change Your Diet
Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar can affect your sleep cycles, making your negative mood worse. Try lowering your coffee and caffeine-heavy tea intake, avoid alcohol altogether, cut out refined sugars, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
Some foods and beverages can help elevate your mood because they are high in vitamin D. If your body can’t get the sunshine needed to make enough vitamin D, eat organic foods that are high in this important nutrient. These include milk, orange juice, fatty fish, eggs, and yogurt. Getting vitamins naturally through your diet allows your body to use them more readily.
Studies have shown that people with seasonal affective disorder respond well to aromatherapy. If the changing weather has impacted your mood, pick an energizing essential oil and turn on the diffuser. Oils like bergamot, lavender, and citrus oils like lemon can induce the brain to release serotonin and dopamine, improving your mood and making you feel invigorated. Remember to always use essential oils safely in a diffuser or carrier oil.
Stick With A Routine During Changing Weather
Staying with a routine while feeling the effects of SAD is challenging, but it’s important to do. Regular times for sleep, meals, and getting outside will help you deal with your mental condition in a healthy, holistic way. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either: plan your day or week, keep a journal of your thoughts, and shut off screens at least a half-hour before bedtime. A simple, healthy routine will make a massive difference!
Some form of seasonal affective disorder touches almost 20% of Canadians each year. It can affect everyone, no matter their age, sex, or mental health history. Don’t feel ashamed or discouraged by SAD, and know that there are many tactics available to help you beat it!