The days being shorter, colder temperatures, less (or no) sunlight and you have the recipe for what many experience as the blahs, seasonal funk, winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.
Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year–despite the lack of sunlight with these tips:
1. A Light Box. Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. A light box mimics outdoor light. Researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD. Most people use light boxes for a minimum of 30 minutes each morning. Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy. Improves mood and energy. (The Mayo Clinic)
2. Open Your Blinds. If and when the sun does decide to shine–make sure you don’t miss it!
3. Color. Color psychologist Angela Wright says shades of blue stimulate clear thought, yellow boosts creativity and lifts spirits, red physiologically affects the body and elevates one’s pulse, and green creates a sense of calming balance. Highly saturated, bright colors will stimulate while softer, muted colors will relax and soothe.
4. Aromatherapy. It is believed that natural plant oils may stimulate regions in the brain, including those controlling endocrine, immune, and limbic (emotional centre) functions. Scientific studies have shown essential oils to produce consistently different patterns in EEG tests on the brain, and that aromas may also have a subliminal or unconscious effect on mental states. Several studies demonstrate the beneficial effects on mood and depression. (www.theAromablog.com) Try diffusing essential oils with an essential oil diffuser in your home. Bergamot is calming and restores wellness and energy. Citrusy scents energize, rejuvenate and uplift. Grapefruit is well-known for its natural anti depressive properties. Clary Sage induces feelings of euphoria and inner peace. Jasmine spreads cheer and freshness. (www.positivehealth.com)
5. Greenery. Plants brighten a space, purify the air, and increase oxygen. We all know that spending time in nature is linked to reduced stress levels and tension relief. Plants are an easy way to make this happen inside your home.
6. Declutter Your Main Entryway. It’s just good sense. You want your house to rise up and greet you when you walk through the door, not squash you like a bug because of mountains of piles and clutter. Extend that to the rest of your home. You want to have breathing room; focus on quality.
7. Make Your Bed. Don’t laugh! According to Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity and stronger skills at sticking with a budget. It has also been suggested that making your bed boosts happiness. Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project concurs. It’s an easy thing to do and when we commit to it we feel a sense of satisfaction. It makes your bedroom a more peaceful environment too.
When we are in a supportive, comfortable space we feel better. And when we feel good we can make our lives even better, despite the lack of sun:)
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