If you’re like me, you’re made for warmer and more stable weather conditions. Unlucky for me, I live in Iowa, where the weather is all but predictable. Don’t get me wrong, aside from the weather, I love it here; however, being stuck inside during the winter is hard for me, and sometimes I become restless. Sometimes I even suffer from a little seasonal depression, which is not all uncommon. Clinically (and ironically) it’s referred to as SAD. Now it’s important to remember that SAD can occur at anytime, but it becomes more common in the fall and winter months. To read more about SAD, check out this information from The University of Rochester.
Usually this happens to me every year, but this year I can say that I’ve been actively working to prevent it. It’s a feeling that I hate, and that I’ve decided I don’t want to feel anymore. So far, no SAD here, and I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing differently (other than picturing myself on a beach in Hawaii drinking a pina colada out of a coconut).
How I can tell I’m feeling SAD
I believe it’s different for everyone, but I start to notice it when I begin losing energy faster becoming more sluggish, I feel less motivated to do my daily tasks, and I even become more irritable with people and other things. I start eating poorly and exercising less, and I begin to retreat almost like a hermit where I might binge watch more things on Netflix on the weekends than I normally would because at that point it’s not even entertainment, it’s just something to do because it’s cold outside. And while some people are okay with it, I hate it. I begin to beat myself up for laying around and watching TV, which only makes me feel worse, and it becomes a cycle.
The University of Rochester offers a variety of different treatments that can be addressed with your doctor or healthcare provider, but I do have some suggestions of my own. DISCLAIMER:: I am NOT a healthcare professional. Just someone who has experienced it and had it work for the better.
Create a system of support
If you are a member of a gym, community, or group that meets regularly engage with them a little more. I’ve found that confiding in people I trust often helps to alleviate some of the things I am anxious about, or at the very least helps me feel an immense sense of gratitude for them.
Among this group you can establish certain things that you can do to put joy back into your daily life starting with gratitudes. A friend and I from work started this blog, and I’m finding that it’s a great place to bounce ideas back and forth, which makes me feel accomplished, heard, and useful. In that same instance, a close friend of mine who coincidentally works with me as well created a payday coffee club. We surprise each other with a new flavor each pay day and make time to talk to each other throughout the day.
Find a new hobby
Finding a new hobby can direct your interests to something you find engaging and worthwhile. This hobby could be anything new that will hold your interest whether it be going to the gym, reading, writing, painting what have you. Or maybe it isn’t even a new hobby, maybe it’s getting in touch with a hobby you no longer make time for. Purposefully seeking out the things you can enjoy or used to enjoy has the ability to brighten up your spirits to help get you through the winter months.
For me, that new hobby includes a couple of different things: writing this blog, which I keep feeling more and more passionate about :), yoga, and the Hunt a Killer subscription box. It was something I’ve always wanted to try, so my boyfriend and I decided to give it a shot. For those of you who may not know what it is, I’ve attached the link above for you to check it out (don’t worry, it’s all fake and written by some of the most clever mystery writers out there). The box not only gives us something to do when it’s ridiculously cold outside, but it challenges our minds and keeps them sharp. Not to mention when we figure something out together it brings on a sense of accomplishment and solid teamwork.
Eat smarter and get regular exercise
I know that a lot of this isn’t news for you, but diet and exercise are a big part of our overall health, yeah, yeah. I’m the biggest baby when it comes to diet. Exercise, I can totally do. Being surrounded by healthy food and healthy options, on the other hand may not make me the winner. Now I can say that I don’t eat a lot of terrible food, but I’m not eating GOOD for me food.
Now this is something that I KNOW is of immense help, but something I still struggle with doing. I hate going to the grocery store when it’s cold, so I often opt for something far less nutritious than what it could be even though I know that a healthy diet makes an impact on our energy levels, moods, and really everything else. To be honest, when it comes to cooking, I am a tad lazy, and I don’t find it to be something I’m dying to do, mostly because I’m impatient.
As far as exercise, take advantage of the programs you have at the gym, local YMCA, or any physical activity opportunities that come up around your area. Here in Des Moines, we have a lot of local Yoga opportunities in some of our museums, botanical gardens, and local parks. My personal favorite is Yoga Under the Stars at the Des Moines Science Center. They put on a yoga class in the IMAX theater and turn it into a star-filled, relaxing atmosphere.
Not sure where to go? Start on FACEBOOK. You can easily look up locals that offer cool opportunities for you to go and get out of the house. Lastly, when the weather IS nice. Go outside for a walk.
When all else fails
DO WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY. Have other ideas on getting rid of the winter blues? Share them in a comment.
If your new hobby is cooking-send me your favorite healthy recipes, and I’ll try them out and give my feedback right here on the blog. I NEED ideas. Help me I’m hungry.
Remember to stick to your goals and think of the endgame. You’re doing great! You got this.