It bothers me when people think that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a made up thing. It is definitely real – it affects me and thousands of other people, most commonly during winter time. I love summer and being outdoors, so for me the hardest thing about winter is the lack of natural light. I wake up, go to work, and by the time I leave it’s dark out. For those of you who suffer from seasonal affective disorder as well, here is a list of ten things you can do at home or during your daily routine that can help ease those winter blues. If you have any other remedies that aren’t on the list below, please share them in the comments!
Click on images for sources; lead image source.
1. Get your daily dose of sunlight.
I know it sounds difficult (especially to me, I love my sleep) but try and pull yourself out of bed a little bit early each day, allowing yourself some morning sunlight time – go for a run, take a walk, ride your bike, it’s up to you. If you can’t get out in the morning (or if it’s still dark when you wake up), make an effort to take a lunch break and sit outside for a bit during the day. The added time in the sun (even if it’s cold out!) will work wonders for your mental well-being.
Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat is a sure way to raise serotonin and endorphin levels – this will be especially beneficial if you do it in the morning.
3. Eat foods containing tryptophan.
Many who suffer from seasonal depression experience decreased levels of serotonin, the brain’s neurotransmitter. Tryptophan is an amino acid known to be a precursor of serotonin, so eating foods that contain it may increase your body’s production of serotonin, thus making you feel better. Turkey (get a nice dosage of this on Thursday!), spinach, bananas, seafood, and egg whites are rich in tryptophan.
4. Cut back on stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and carbs.
They might make you feel better short-term but with every high comes a low, and these can lead to mood swings that can deepen your depression.
5. Fill your home with light.
Open up the blinds and let those rays in – not only will they act as a natural form of warmth in your home but every added bit of light you can bring into your home will go a long way.
6. DIY time!
Now that you’re not spending every waking moment outdoors, you have plenty of time to get crafting. Check out our diy projects for some inspiration :).
7. Use essential oils.
Essential oils can be powerful mood-lifters. Jasmine oil is a great anti-depressant that stimulates beta brain wave activity and can make you feel euphoric. Citric oils like lemon can also stimulate the autonomic nervous system and have a similar effect.
8. The warmth of color.
Wear and surround yourself with warm colors. Yellow, orange, and red can stimulate your mood greatly!
9. Try something new.
Enroll in a class that interests you – whether it is yoga, photography, cooking, you name it! It will give you something to look forward to and take your mind off the gloomy winter days.
10. Laugh out loud!
Laughter is the best medicine – it may sound simple but it’s so true! Laughter stimulates endorphins much like exercise. Take some time to watch your favorite sitcom or comedy films and let yourself laugh out loud. It’s the easiest and most effective way to make yourself feel better!
More health and beauty tips from the BLDG 25 Blog.