Are you tired of the blues ruining your holiday spirit every winter? You’re not the only one. Many people suffer from winter depression. It can manifest into a more severe condition: seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. A low mood during the winter can affect your mental health. It may leave you feeling lonely, fatigued, and unwell.
A little exercise and some social connections often do the trick. Some people need to talk to a therapist or clinical social worker. Others need health care services and treatments. Whatever you choose, there are ways to prevent and combat this. Here’s how to protect your mental health during the winter.
Even if you don’t usually suffer from mental health issues, the winter months can make you feel depressed. As Psychology Today reported, 30 percent of depressed people do not receive treatment. Although winter blues are temporary, you will still benefit from mental health services.
Individual therapy, in particular, is a safe space to boost your mental health. The right therapist can help you with cognitive behavior therapy or psychotherapy. Make sure you find the best mental health counselor if this is your first time. Search for mental health services in your area—and read reviews before you select a therapist. For example, look up “NYC therapy” to find therapists in New York City.
Places like the Therapy Group of NYC help you go through the therapeutic process online. Services like this help you talk through your issues continuously. Continuous online therapy can be more helpful than sporadic face-to-face consultations. It can also help you get through winter in better mental health.
Stay active throughout the year.
Exercise helps you stay fit, energized, and happy. And, it helps your mental health by boosting serotonin and endorphins. It’s tempting to curl up under the blankets on a cold evening—but it’s healthier to resist the temptation. A lack of sunshine is one of the reasons you feel lethargic during winter. It can leave you feeling like you have low energy. So, you have to improve your mood with exercise.
Do you get too much or too little rest? A balanced sleep schedule is a crucial way to combat seasonal depression. It can also be tougher to wake up during winter. To combat this, try not to use blackout blinds when you sleep. A little sunshine will help ease you out of bed in the morning.
Also, remember to stay nourished. Since lethargy can affect your mental health, keeping your energy up is crucial. Are you worried this means you can’t have all that hot cocoa and Christmas cake? Don’t be. You don’t have to eliminate your favorite seasonal treats.
However, keep sugary, fatty foods to a minimum. If you do indulge, make sure you balance the comfort foods with nutrition. Consume more fruits, vegetables, and protein. And, it won’t hurt to take a few daily vitamins to boost your mood either. It’ll help your mental health—and your waistline!
It’s not easy to get enough sunlight during the winter months. However, that’s not the only reason staying indoors is a bad idea during the winter. Colder, darker months can lead to or increase feelings of isolation.
While you can get on a phone call with a family member for some company, that’s not always enough. It’s face-to-face contact that will help you here. Spend less time staring at a screen and more time outdoors with loved ones. Join a class or take up a new hobby. Even a few dinner dates can help beat the winter blues.