With the chilly winter season knocking at our doors, many will feel a little down for the next couple of months. The temperature drops and it gets darker earlier, giving us less hours of daylight. These natural factors mixed in with the holidays, it’s easy to feel less than great during the cold weather months. For those of you who want to boost your mood during these chilly days, here are some great techniques to put a smile back on your face.
Address The Problem
Understanding what exactly makes you feel sad or down allows for the problem to be addressed more quickly. Due to the lack of sunlight during the winter, Vitamin D deficiency increases. This may be due to both natural body reactions, but also lives are becoming more indoor-oriented due to the rise in tech.
This vitamin deficiency has been traced in those who have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a type of depression that reacts to the change in weather by causing tiredness, irritability and weight gain. For those who think they have SAD, visit a mental health professional. The treatments range from medication to light-box therapy.
If you’re not showing any SAD symptoms, you may just have the winter blues. "Holiday blues is situational," explains Dr. Simon Rego, director of psychology training at the Montefiore Medical Center and associate professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "It's people's reactions to stuff.''
Don’t Over Think
Many cite the stresses of holiday shopping, traveling and visiting with relatives as a cause of their winter blues. Instead of tossing and turning at night, think about how your aunts are going to react to your new partner, adjust your thoughts to something positive. Try reading a book with an intricate fantasy story or an adult coloring book.
Understand Your Limits
When visiting with your relatives, know to not engage in any uncomfortable discussions and leave when you’re ready, not when your relatives are finished talking. The same thing goes for shopping, if your budget is set to a certain amount, you don’t have to splurge just to impress.
When All Else Fails...Take A Walk
Once the holidays are over, being in a gloomy mood during the first months of the year is pretty normal. When your mood is down and the weather is not dangerously cold, take a walk around your neighborhood or park. To get as much vitamin D as possible, go outside during high peak hours and forgo the sunscreen.
For those more snowy days where you’re kept inside, break out the hula hoop and give it a whirl. It's surprisingly effective!