As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, it’s easy to get tired of the darkness and colder weather. It’s entirely possible that your mood can be affected too – afterall, we all rely on sunlight and Vitamin D to maintain high levels of energy and positivity.
For people who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder getting through the colder months can be especially difficult. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that relates to changes in seasons. Its onset happens in the fall or early winter, and ends around springtime, with possible symptoms including fatigue, moodiness and disorganized sleeping patterns.
Those people who are prone to depression are especially at risk for SAD. As such, the team at at THIRA has collected a few tips on how to prepare and manage SAD during our colder winter months.
1. Set simple, measurable and achievable goals.
Nothing works better than setting a few goals to keep yourself motivated. As you read this post, take out a sheet of paper or a notebook and think of 6 things you want to achieve in the next 6 months. These goals must be easily measured (exercise 3 times a week, read 1 book per month, and so on), fun and realistic. Then, check in with yourself every Sunday, see what goals you have achieved so far and check them off as you go. Having any number of goals can be a motivating and inspiring way to stay on track.
2. Add a morning routine to your days.
Establishing a morning routine is essential to feeling more in control of the surrounding environment. A morning routine can be anything you want it to be – a 5 minute meditation session, a note in a journal or even something simple like drinking a glass of water before breakfast. If you need help tracking your morning routines, check out some apps that might be helpful.
3. Join a group exercise class.
Most people dread going to the gym and we get that. Especially during winter months when, once it gets dark, getting up is twice as hard. As a way to stay on track, try taking a group exercise class. Not only will you feel more accountable for attending it, but you’ll also experience a possibly more effective workout with some extra endorphins flowing in. It’s a win-win!
4. Find a new hobby to explore
While we are talking about setting goals and trying out group exercise classes, we’d also like to mention the importance of having a hobby or an activity you would enjoy dedicating your time to. The variety of hobbies range from active sports to embroidery, and each activity allows you to take your mind off stressful and negative things in life and practice mindfulness.
5. Spend quality time with your loved ones
Lastly, spend close time with your family and friends (humans and pets!). It’s been scientifically proven that experiencing meaningful conversation and even cuddling can improve mental health and reduce stress.
We hope this fall weather has been treating you well. The team at THIRA is definitely enjoying some sweater weather and invites you to make yourself comfortable and cozy as well. Reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns about Seasonal Affective Disorder.