Well, winter is officially here, and as a native southern Californian girl, New York winters hit me hard. Between the heavy cold, harsh winds, and lack of sunlight for months on end, the winter season takes a serious toll on me, not just physically, but mentally as well. And you may be thinking to yourself, “Hey, me too!” Well, that’s because winter always brings about Seasonal Affective Disorder aka SAD.
SAD is commonly known as winter depression, in which people exhibit particularly depressive symptoms during the winter time, such as insomnia, irritability, weight gain, and moodiness. It’s nice to know we’re not going through it alone, but how on earth do you combat the feeling of wanting to hole up for four months straight? There is no set-in-stone cure, but there are tons of incredibly helpful ways to combat those winter blues. Just see our handy list below.
Being from sunny LA, I personally am acclimated to sunshine 24/7, 365 days a year, so you can say my first few winters in the city were a shocker. What really changed my life was when my parents surprised me with a sun lamp. Don’t get me wrong — it doesn’t emit heat, but rather it emits light that looks exactly like the sun. Use it daily, and it will seriously keep all of your sadness at bay. (Pro tip: turn it on, sit in front of it with your eyes closed, and it will feel like you’re sitting in a park with the sun beating down on you).
For similar reasons as the sunlamp, taking vitamin D on a daily basis can make a huge impact on your winter mood. Vitamin D is only produced when you’re exposed to sunlight and can often lead to an increase in depressive feelings and habits. Popping one supplement a day can ensure that your mood stays A+.
For anyone who doesn’t know about Homesick, I feel sorry for you. I received their Southern California candle for Christmas last year and burn it each time I need a little reminder of home. For me, it smells like orange blossoms and the ocean, but they make these candles for every single state as well as a few countries and cities. And if you’re not into candles or prefer diffusing essential oils, they make them as oils, too. Nonetheless, they promise to mentally transport you home, wherever that may be.
I know how hard it can be to get out of bed to work out when it’s a mere 15 degrees out, but it turns out that exercise (no matter the weather) will improve your mood. Consistent exercise will ensure that you’re constantly producing dopamine (your happy hormone), so be sure to move and be active at least once a day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Helpful hint: biking makes you the happiest as it releases the most dopamine of any form of exercise — so now is a perfect time to try the spin class you’ve always been meaning to.
If you’ve tried everything under the sun and you just can’t seem to feel better, talk to a doctor or even reach out to a call center to talk to a therapist. 7 Cups is a great network of listeners who are there to talk you through a small frustration or a serious issue, making them a perfect call for any winter frustrations.
Written by Hannah Smith
Feature image via Amazon