Maybe you’ve heard of the west coast winters that we have in Vancouver. You might even laugh. The last three (or four?) years have resulted in copious rainfalls and one day of the year, we might even get a light dusting of snow that is lucky if it survives more than a few hours. But this year, winter hit us very hard. For the first time in years, we received a bit more of what the rest of Canada receives. Ice coating the side walks. Snow reminding us of the cold. The stress of worrying about others on the road. This might sound silly to you, but with how rare snow is for us, it’s not surprising to see Vancouverites panic in the presence of harsher driving conditions. But even more than that was how this impacted us internally. Our home has recently become darker with Seasonal Depression Disorder (SAD). Particularly that both of us are currently feeling it. Having researched this originally for our home, here are ten methods for how to escape the winter blues.
1) Adjust Your Lighting
It’s no surprise that lighting impacts our ability to escape the winter blues. In the summer, the sun rises early. In winter, things can get pretty dark. For myself, I feel the urge to oversleep, which impacts my day heavily. Turning the lights on as soon as I need to wake up is helpful. Additionally, we have a SAD light, which helps to mimic the sun’s rays. Candles are also a nice way of adding brightness. All of these methods should help, as Light Therapy has been proven to be very helpful for many over the years.
2) Boost Endorphins & Serotonin Naturally
It is so easy to get lazy as the world around you seems to convey that sleep time is ALL the time! Try and push yourself to get moving. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Stretch as you watch TV. Taylor & Francis (2009) have indicated activity to have a positive impact on SAD. In the summer, there are always physical activities to participate in, but in winter, its easy to write anything off, especially outdoors. A recent study conducted at the University of Copenhagen showed that one reason SAD occurs is that serotonin is limited or decreased in autumn or winter months, due to the body’s inability to control serotonin transport. To boost serotonin and your mood, exercise is said to be very helpful. For me, a 20-minute run on the treadmill seems to work.
3) Plan Activities
A no-brainer that I found in research was coordinating plans. To escape the winter blues, one must be open to actually doing things, rather than fading away on the couch for twelve hours (guilty!). You could try winter specific activities to get your heart moving. Or you could try something you haven’t in ages, like bowling. Increasing friend time can also be helpful. An organization known as heretohelp mentions the importance of staying connected with others.
4) Watch Your Health
Seasonal Affective Disorder is not something to be overlooked. You can do your research online. Or visit your doctor to get their take on this. Maybe amp up on your vitamins. Eat well. You could even try aromatherapy. There are plenty of ways to address this in a proactive manner with self-care. Don’t write this off in your mind as not worth finding a solution. There are plenty of people who need to escape the winter blues, yet this isn’t often regarded seriously as a health topic.
5) Maintain a Consistent Schedule
One way to escape the winter blues is to maintain a set schedule. Like I mentioned, I’m so bad at oversleeping in winter. Watching your sleep schedule and exposing yourself to light at the right times can be very beneficial. Also, maintaining a steady schedule for meals can also have an impact.
We hope you found this guide to be helpful. Looking to improve your wellness even further? You might benefit from this self-care article.