Studies indicate that as much as twenty-five percent of the population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder or what’s commonly known as the winter blues. Especially if you live in colder, northern states, winter can be depressing borderlining on debilitating. Having suffered from clinical depression for seven straight years, I can tell you that winter can be really tough on those suffering from winter-related blues.
It feels like you’re trapped in a frozen tundra and will never escape, to put it mildly. Winter used to be a tough time for me, but following the tips below has helped me to kick the winter blues to the curb and manage to almost enjoy winter. 🙂
Beating the Winter Blues
This can be tough advice to follow if you hate winter and feel depressed on top of it. Getting outside into the fresh air – even for a few minutes a day will help. Since I’m staunchly opposed to weather under thirty-five degrees, I’ll often seek out other forms of sunlight to bask in, such as sitting in our bay window during its peak sunlight hours or packing up the kids and heading to the conservatory that we have in the cities. The warm air in the sunlit-filled greenhouses and the smell of fresh flowers and trees will help to boost your mood even if it’s thirty below.
A diet rich in green, leafy veggies and other whole foods is key to combating sadness in depression, in my experience. Try to eat healthy soups and salads, lean, grass fed meats and nuts and legumes.
At the same time, work to keep sugar, flour and processed foods to a minimum. The same goes for your beverages; drink lots of pure water (add fresh-squeezed lemon to spice it up) and herbal teas, and avoid overindulging in sodas, flavored coffees and other non-natural beverages.
You don’t have to belong to a gym to get a good workout in. Walk in your neighborhood if it’s not too cold, take advantage of a class aired on television or a workout CD, or make your own workout program right in your own home. We do lots of walking, hiking and biking in the summertime, but since I’m not a winter fan, my winter workouts consist mostly of free weights, a good calisthenics routine and weight-bearing exercises such as push ups and leg lifts.
This is a DVD series I used to workout to regularly. I sold it in a garage sale years ago and SO wish I wouldn’t have:
Here is an awesome kick-boxing series that will get your energy up big time.
Watch What You Feed Your Mind
Many people don’t realize how very much negative books, TV shows and movies affect the mind. If I’m having a down day I can often trace it back to reading too much online news reports or having watched a TV show with too much violence or negativity. As such, I weigh very carefully what I allow into my mind. We don’t watch any of the popular movies or TV shows that many people find “exciting” these days because of the inordinate amount of violence and negativity in them.
Instead, we watch historical documentaries or fifties and sixties television reruns that are filled with light-hearted humor and only very mild violence.
Recommended Reading: The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
Beware of Negative Nellies
Some people go around spewing grumbling and complaining everywhere they go. This is not a good environment for you to be in, especially if you suffer from the winter blues. If you’ve people in your life that thrive on grumbling and complaining, keep contact with them to a minimum – at least during the winter months. If the negative Nellie (or Norman) in your life is somebody you can’t get away from, sit them down for a gentle heart-to-heart about how depressing their constant complaining can be and ask them if they’d consider trying to be more positive and practice an attitude of gratitude.
Which leads me to my next piece of advice, practicing gratitude. When you feel the winter blues setting in (and even before you do) make it a habit to practice gratitude. Make a list of things you are thankful for and practice saying “thank you” more to people around you for the little things they do. Remember that every good thing is a gift and that you aren’t owed anything by the world.
I can’t think of anything that helps me have a positive outlook on life more than giving to others. Volunteering at your local food shelf, caring for babies at a Crisis Nursery Center or bringing meals to a shut-in are all examples of things you can do to make giving a habit in your life. There’s something about loving on those less fortunate that magnifies your blessings in your own mind.
If you suffer from the winter blues, don’t give up hope. Take your health into your own hands – seeking professional advice if need be – and take your life back from winter sadness.
Do you suffer from SAD or the winter blues? If so, how do you stay strong during the winter season?