Feel like your best self no matter the season and help combat symptoms of SAD.
About 5% of adults in the US have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but many people feel dips in their mood when the temperatures drop. It may seem like all of the elements are working against us that can lead to feeling depressed, but luckily there’s a lot we can do to keep our mood boosted during the winter months.
The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the sun just doesn’t shine the way it used to. Sound familiar? It’s winter. And, while there’s a lot to love about the chilly season, many of us find ourselves feeling a bit blah between November to March.
There are multiple factors believed to cause this change in mood. As sunlight decreases, we may experience a drop in serotonin, the hormone that keeps us happy. Additionally, the reduced levels of sunlight may disrupt our circadian rhythm: the body’s internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. When that’s out of whack, not only our sleep suffers, but our mental health can too. Lastly, seasonal changes (such as longer, darker days) can disrupt our melatonin production, causing us to feel sleepy and lethargic.
Here are 7 of our favorite ways to boost your mood this winter:
1. Go outside
Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your mental health, so get outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Take advantage of what sunlight there is by going out in the morning or afternoon and enjoy that serotonin boost. There are fewer sunlight hours during fall and winter so it can help to work bright light exposure into your daily routine to combat those winter blues.
You know how you usually feel way better after a good workout than before? It’s all those endorphins. Exercise helps your body release endorphins and gives you a boost of energy that can last long beyond your workout. Bonus points if you workout outside to get some extra sun. If that’s not an option, try exercising near a well-lit window.
3. Bring light inside
While there might not be a lot of natural light outside, you can create a brighter environment inside. Light therapy boxes are designed to mimic outdoor light and create a naturally cheery space. Not only can some time spent by these lights help boost serotonin, but some can help normalize your circadian rhythm and get you back onto a regular sleep schedule.
4. Get some sleep
Speaking of a sleep schedule, you should stick to a normal one. Let’s be real, on dreary days there’s nothing more tempting than crawling back into bed for a midday nap. But, that can make your body confused and throw off your internal clock even more. Try to stick to a normal sleep schedule to keep things regular.
5. Have a PYM Mood Chew
Feeling like you need some extra support? Loaded with mood-boosting amino acids and adaptogens like L-Theanine, GABA, and Rhodiola, PYM Mood Chews can help you reduce those feelings of stress and anxiety.
6. Eat Well
A nutrient-rich diet can help you feel like your best self. Fill your plate with healthy proteins, fats, carbs, and of course, a lot of color. Mental health includes balance though. We all have our own feel-good comfort foods that bring us happiness, so indulge in those every now and then too.
Being alone all the time in the dark and the cold can only further feelings of isolation. People with SAD can benefit from surrounding themselves with loved ones. Make time for friends, family, and activities that bring you joy. Get some events planned in your schedule so you have something to look forward to.