After spending the largest part of 2020 indoors, it’s about time that many of us would want to venture out and connect with others (at a safe distance, of course!). But as the seasons change, so may our moods. We might even feel inclined to do less. For some people, this results in a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder. While SAD (a form of depression) can affect people during the summer, it’s more commonly associated with the winter weather blues. Here are some helpful tips for managing SAD and related mood swings this season.
- Build a support network
Community is so important to our overall wellness; healing often happens communally. Stay in contact with friends, loved ones, and trusted healthcare professionals — it’s helpful to have people in your circle who can recognize and respect your boundaries surrounding communication.
- Maintain your nutrition
Find time to enjoy comforting hearty meals like soups, stews, and warm drinks — as well as your favorite snacks (balance is key!). Eating nutritious meals at consistent times of the day will also help you manage all other tasks by giving your body fuel as needed.
- Keep Vitamin D levels up
Considering that so much of our time is spent working inside (even pre-pandemic), it’s likely that many people are not getting enough daily Vitamin D exposure. Enjoy time outdoors getting sun while you can (even on overcast days). Incorporate supplements into your diet if recommended by a healthcare practitioner.
4. Keep it light
If your house or work space gets limited sun exposure, you might benefit from phototherapy aka light therapy. You can purchase a sun lamp to recreate the brightness of the midday sun in your home or office.
5. Get a change of scenery
For those who live in a densely populated area, it could be nice to see different sights and get away from the city. A safe road trip or social distance visit to the mountains might inspire you and reinvigorate you once you return to your daily routine.
This one is simple in theory, but often hard for some of us in practice. Rest (especially napping) is healing to your mind, body, and soul. I recommend following The Nap Ministry on social media for inspiration and reminders to tend to you when you’re too caught up in the daily grind.
- Make time for hobbies and self-care
For self-care, it’s best to do what’s accessible. If that looks like something simple such as setting a consistent bedtime and starting your day earlier, by all means do so. If you like to luxuriate in decadent baths, find time to treat yourself. The hobbies we do for our own pleasure are an extension of this care. Be sure to center your own needs in whatever you decide.