Here we are again. If you thought the period after the Holidays was bad enough, with the getting back into the groove of things, well then you’ll be pretty disappointed to hear that there’s likely something else weighing you down right now, and it’s not really the Holiday spirit leaving your body…
No, what you’re experiencing, whether you realize it is not Holiday induced. A situation too common for the most of us, but during these months of the year, many do tend to experience something they call “Winter blues”, or even more serious forms of it known as “Seasonal Effective Disorder”.
When the days are shorter, dark seems to be ever-present, skin is dry, hair is dry, and you cant leave your home without at least a few layers of clothing on, things are bound to look a little bleak. Yikes! It’s no wonder that most of us tend to get quite down in the Winter time, after all, it is a cold season in every sense of the word, including mentally.
Unfortunately how we feel doesn’t change nature, and the fact that each year this must run its course. However, we don’t have to miserably just tolerate Winter until it passes! There are actually a few effective tips and tricks that can make Winter easier to deal with and allow you to continue living your best life. Here are just a few that I’ve found are personally effective…
LIGHT IT UP!
Unless you’re a vampire (don’t know why you’d be reading this if you are), the best and most effective thing you can do to survive Winter and boost your mood is kick up your light intake. Given the short hours of daylight in Winter and our work schedules, it can be difficult to even see much daylight outside during these months. This is why it is essential to get some light for yourself whenever you possibly can, in order to feed your mind, body and soul.
If you work in a building with windows, make sure you have your blinds opened at times…as annoying as that may be for your laptop usage, you need a few hours a day of light to boost your mental effectiveness and mood, so get close to those windows. Moreover, if you have a lunch break, even if its cold outside, take a short walk. What you’re doing is helping in maintaining an inner rhythm pattern your body needs, as our bodies naturally respond to light in specific ways, thus when we have a change in schedule in Winter months, this disrupts our body’s rhythm leading to mood, hormone and sleep changes which can affect you negatively!
A great alternative for when you’re home is investing in light therapy, using a specific lamp for 30 minutes to an hour a day. Many companies have now begun to sell sun lamps or light therapy lamps, some going by other names, but they all essentially simulate the light reflected outdoors that a standard bulb indoors wouldn’t be able to give you. They say that “blue light” is the most effective, keep that in mind when picking your options. This lamp tricks your mind and body into thinking it’s getting daylight, which is sometimes needed in the shorter daylight hours of Winter. You can get some lamps such as this one on Amazon that will provide a therapy of sorts to your body, giving you a chance to absorb some essential light, beating any Winter blues or mood changes.
OILS ARE YOUR FRIEND
The LAST thing your mind and the eyes of your loved ones need is for you to be out here looking like Uncle Fester from the Adam’s Family. But if you’re not taking care of your skin, you likely will end up resembling him come March if not sooner, seriously. Luckily, this time of the year is one when you can get away with putting some oils onto your skin, even if you naturally have oily skin. In keeping your skin soft and glowy, your body will resemble a more youthful and lively appearance, thus taking away some of the gloom and doom of Winter…so, be a good one and stay hydrated in all ways.
Rose hip oil and coconut oil are great moisturizers that will not clog your pores or leave you looking greasy in general, but with the Winter sucking moisture out of your skin rapidly, they’re even more effective in these months. Before bed, you should apply a nice thick layer of moisture to your skin, as well as a thinner one waking up before you leave your home. Don’t forget to moisturize your body and especially your hands, as your knuckles can actually become a bloody dry mess if you are out too long and not wearing gloves.
No health post is complete without talking about one essential component…your vitamins, of course. Vitamin D is essential to your bone health, absorption of minerals and vitamins such as calcium. It’s a pretty essential part of our overall physical health, and unfortunately for some of us, majority of it we get through sunlight! The most common way to get it during Winter is in supplement form, as you can take little tablets to ensure you have adequate intake while the sun’s not out often. Other ways to get it is of course through your diet, orange juice specially fortified, fish, and egg yolks are all some foods which can provide you with a vitamin D intake, but you’d have to continually eat sufficient amounts of them to keep up, so you gotta keep an eye on your diet and make sure you’re taking in enough Vitamin D.
GET HOT IN HERE
If you can’t step outside into warmer weather, then you bring that to you, at least once a week! A great reminder to your body and mind of better days is to involve yourself in some hot activity once a week.
You can do hot yoga, which is amazing for your body in so many ways! You can go to a sauna. You can even go to an indoor swim. Going anywhere with heat of this capacity for about an hour or so a week is going to do wonders in stabilizing your mood. When you step into a 30+ degree hot yoga room or pool, you are suddenly in the midst of Summer and can even visualize yourself on a beach if you need to.
When you step out of these sessions, your body will still be pumped and hot, thus the Winter outside won’t seem like such a bad thing. Seriously, your mind is capable of amazing things, and providing yourself some activity which requires minimal clothing like this is going to do wonders in keeping your mind focused on the good days ahead and give you something to look forward to each week this Winter.
GET SOME FRIENDS
I know I just said “oils are your friend”, but you do kinda also need to get some real ones too, really. Even for the most anti-social of us…Winter is a time when you really do kinda need to go out and talk to people. Between the lack of daylight, cold air and lack of people walking the streets, it can feel pretty isolating and do a number on you. The best way to stay positive and involved is to go out with people from time to time. Grab a coffee with friends, go see a movie, go to a concert or hockey game.
Do something with other people that will help you temporarily forget how dreary Winter is. This is probably the most effective and essential part of surviving Winter, as being lonely can be one of the worst ways to cope. Even if you hate people and socializing, do it for your own well-being, it’ll be fun…I promise.
And remember, it’s only a few months. You’ve done it all your life, and you’ll get through this one. But if you really do need help, then please see your doctor and you can be referred to some great professionals with even more effective tips than mine! And just take it one day at a time. Winter be over in no time!