As we dive into these winter months, I'd like to share some ideas for battling Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This common seasonal depression affects over 3 million people in the U.S. alone, and is more and more common every year. As the days get shorter and shorter, you may find yourself experiencing some of these symptoms:
- Tiredness or low energy
- Problems getting along with other people
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
Luckily, some mindful changes to your lifestyle can help ease these symptoms and help you thrive through winter!
Before we dive deeper, I want to note that these symptoms and tips were born of my personal experience with SAD, and are not to be confused with a professional opinion. If you or someone you know has feelings of depression, it's always best to talk to your doctor.
1. Don't abandon your diet and exercise routine!
Chilly temperatures, blustery winds and icy sidewalks can make your bed and slippers seem super appealing, but hibernating with Netflix marathons and Seamless orders will only make it harder to cope with seasonal depression. While enjoying cozy nights is perfectly okay, don't completely abandon your healthy eating habits and exercise routine. Opt for a warm home-cooked meal instead of take-out. Enjoy a sweaty vinyasa flow session in your living room. Bundle up and go for a romantic stroll with your partner. You'll feel more energized, motivated, and ready to take on the winter months!
2. Be social.
While we're on the topic of avoiding hibernation and isolation, make sure you go out and spend time with friends and family! I know a couch and fuzzy blanket seem tempting, but a girl's night out or lunch with your parents will lift your spirits and brighten your day. On the nights you can't make it out, phone a friend or arrange a wine and movie night with healthy snacks.
3. Ditch the juice cleanse.
When we do over-indulge during the holidays, our reaction may be to "make up for it" by cleansing or fasting. While I am not opposed to nourishing, safe cleanse programs, these cold juices are not well suited to wintertime. I recently discovered Splendid Spoonful, a service that delivers healthy, filling, plant-based soups to your door. You can sign up for a 1, 5 or 7-day plan and detox during the holidays without freezing to death!
Who doesn't love coming home to a sparkling Christmas tree and festive decor?? You don't have to live in a suburban mansion or buy a 12 foot tree to get in the spirit -- my husband and I just spent $50 on a mini tree, ornaments, lights, scented candles and candy canes to spruce up our apartment. Let's forget the stress and hustle of the holiday season and bring back some of the simple joys of winter!
5. Get your Vitamin D.
Just because it's cold out doesn't mean the sun isn't shining! Bundle up and take a brisk walk on a sunny day to absorb some natural Vitamin D, and keep up with your supplements too! A deficiency in Vitamin D specifically can trigger those SAD symptoms, so it's best to combat that any way you can!
Do you experience seasonal affective disorder? I'd love to hear your experiences and thoughts. If you'd like to schedule that warming vinyasa yoga session I mentioned, feel free to contact me here!