Cold Mountain. The Grey. 30 Days of Night. Does Netflix recommend cold and depressing content to match the weather outside? Or is that the Seasonal Affective Disorder talking?
Either way, I know I’m not the only one who finds it tough to get going in the morning—and stay energized throughout the day—when it’s dark, damp and rainy. The thing is, the best way to get more done and feel more empowered is to think light and embrace what winter can offer. Here are 3 seasonal depression remedies to get you started:
According to the National Institute on Mental Health, exposure to bright light in the early morning can be a powerful, fast, and effective treatment for seasonal depression. So if you’ve noticed a drop in energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating at work and at home, irritability, avoidance of social situations, anxiety, or (wait for it) cravings for sweet and starchy foods, you might benefit from more light. When you wake up, turn on as many bright lights in your home, open the curtains and lift the shades. Have a fireplace? Use it. Exercising when it’s light out, especially outdoor exercise, can help too. If that’s not working, you can always talk to your doctor about light therapy. You deserve to be in your best state of mind this winter.
Get out there and get moving
Plenty of places get colder in the winter, but that doesn’t mean everyone stops playing (I’m looking at you, “Blue Tarp Camper”). That’s why warm under-layers exist. Now that you’re insulated, check out sites like MeetUp, or search for “winter sports rec league,” for inspiration. Running and hiking clubs, skiing, softball… the list goes on. Or you could go indoor with yoga, basketball, or volleyball. Getting friends involved will help boost your motivation. Not feeling sporty? Try some live music. Or take a day trip. Life’s not always a beach (sorry, Corona Extra) but sometimes life’s a visit to your favorite Bavarian-themed village. Prost!
Build habits you want to keep all year
Sleeping longer doesn’t guarantee more energy. Eating heavy isn’t the same thing as eating well. It’s easy to get lulled into a comfortable routine this time of year. Instead, focus on proactive and healthful decisions and activities you can do all week, all month, even all year. Short walks throughout the day? Drinking more water? More time with friends that doesn’t include your phone? It may take more than three weeks to establish these good habits. If you need to reset or revise your plan, that’s OK! You don’t have to wait for New Year’s to make resolutions. And if you can keep these habits in winter, it’s got to be easier in summer, right?