Every winter as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, something in us changes. Maybe you feel a little down and the only thing you want to do is lay on the couch and watch Netflix all day. We’ve all been there. But it could be something more serious. This seasonal depression is actually called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, and it affects thousands of people every year. In addition to feeling sad and depressed, symptoms include having low energy, sleep issues, and changes in appetite, among other things. If you think that you may be suffering from SAD, it’s best to visit your doctor and work on a treatment plan, but there are small things you can do at home that will make your days a little brighter.
One of the worst parts of the winter is the lack of sunlight. Everything is so dark and cold and it can be really depressing to start and end your day in complete darkness. Our bodies are thrown out of whack without sunlight. No really, our circadian rhythm, which controls sleep and mood stability can be totally altered without the proper amount of sun exposure, possibly leading to SAD. This is why light therapy has become a popular treatment option for so many people battling seasonal depression. All you need to do is sit in front of the lamp for 20-30 minutes every day. Try to stick to a routine, maybe use it in the morning while putting makeup on, or take 20 minutes to read a book or catch up on some e-mails. A light therapy lamp is supposed to actually alter the chemicals in your brain since it mimics natural light and can help jump-start your day throughout the winter as if you were feeling the warmth of the real summer sun. However, under no circumstance should you use a tanning bed in lieu of a sunlamp! They are not safe, plus there are so many great products on the market that will give you a natural glow, you won’t even miss your fake tan.
Another easy hack to stave off the winter blues is taking a vitamin D supplement. Sometimes referred to as the Sunshine Vitamin, vitamin D is known to promote overall health and has mood-boosting capabilities. With a daily dose of vitamin D paired with a sun lamp, you’re on your way to a happier, healthier winter.
It’s super easy to fall into a lazy habit of watching movies on the couch and ordering take out when it’s too cold to go outside in the winter. To be honest, it’s good to be lazy and indulge every once in a while, but too much of a sedentary lifestyle isn’t great for seasonal depression. It can make anxiety and depression worse, and just be detrimental to your overall health and sleep. And you know, exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. You’ve seen Legally Blonde, you know how this ends.
It’s great to have an exercise routine in the winter, whether it’s swimming at an indoor pool or a quick 20-minute yoga video on YouTube. If you hate exercise (hi, yes, don’t we all) there are a few ways to make it a little more exciting and worthwhile. Create a fun playlist, bring a buddy, maybe develop a gym crush. One of the best ways to get motivated is to have comfortable yet stylish workout gear. Even when it’s cold it’s great to spend some time outdoors, and it’s really not that bad if you’re wearing the proper gear.
Besides maintaining your health and mood, one of the better aspects of working out is treating yourself afterward. Nothing beats a warm bath to defrost your aching feet after a run, and looking forward to something makes your workout go by a little faster. Bath bombs are a great way to unwind after exercise, especially in the winter, because they create a nice little oasis no matter where you are. The Cheer Up Buttercup Bath Bomb from Lush will turn your bath a bright summery yellow shade while the citrus notes uplift your spirits. You can also check out our article 6 Products You Need for a Luxurious Evening Routine, which has even more great tips for pampering yourself at night that are perfect for cheering you up in the winter.
Perhaps the most important thing to do during the colder months when seasonal depression hits is continuing to live your life, and remember that moderation is your friend. Exercise for those endorphins, but you don’t need to go crazy in the gym to be happy. You can drink wine and eat pizza on the couch, but maybe not every night. You are allowed to indulge during the holidays, but pace yourself. Maybe plan something to look forward to in order to break up the monotony of the winter. Plan a weekend trip, host a girl’s night with friends. Don’t turn into a hermit and avoid other people, as easy as it is to do. Take care of yourself and remember, spring will be here soon, quickly followed by summer. Time flies so enjoy the seasons while they last. That’s not a reference to the world ending, but did you read that climate change report that just came out? This is why we have bath bombs…and wine.