The winter blues are TOTALLY a thing—whether we want them to be or not. Short days and cold nights can easily kill your motivation and leave you feeling just plain blah. There’s a name for these melancholy feelings: seasonal affective disorder, also called SAD for short. SAD tends to affect women at a higher rate, and it can take a serious toll on your work and life if it’s left unaddressed.
Since we can’t hibernate for three months (lucky polar bears!), it’s important to stay ahead of this seasonal slump with proactive self-care. Ready to beat the winter blues and reclaim your good vibes? Read on!
Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms
While no one is 100% sure of the cause of seasonal affective disorder, according to WebMD, some scientists believe it’s linked to changes in hormones that happen in tandem with changing seasons. It’s normal to feel a bit different in your mind and body as the seasons change each year, but how do you know the difference between a one-off bad day and an actual bout of seasonal affective disorder? Check out the Mayo Clinic’s list of classic symptoms of seasonal affective disorder below:
- Depressed feelings for days or weeks at a time
- Low energy
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Feelings of lethargy, hopelessness, or worthlessness
- Changes in appetite or fluctuations in weight
Sound familiar? If you’re having a few of these seasonal affective disorder symptoms, it’s time to start fighting the winter blues.
How to Treat SAD and Cure Winter Blues
First things first—if you’re experiencing prolonged depression, it’s always a good idea to speak with a doctor or therapist. Once you know you’re not dealing with something that needs professional or medical attention, fighting the winter blues is as easy as bringing more fun and action into your life! Here are a few ideas to cure winter blues:
1. Get moving.
It’s no secret that exercise is good for your physical health, but it can also boost your mental state! Exercise releases endorphins, which can help to elevate your mood and give you a sense of overall well-being. Sunlight can help SAD symptoms, too, so exercise outside or near a window whenever possible.
2. Try some mind-body integration techniques.
Sometimes, the winter blues can make you feel disconnected from your own feelings—almost as if you’re just going through the motions of life. Keep yourself grounded and engaged in your life with mind-body practices, such as meditation, mindfulness exercises, breathing techniques, or even yoga (a dual-purpose activity, since it gives you a dose of exercise, too!).
3. Be social.
When experiencing winter blues, you might only want to curl up under a blanket and sleep. But actually, doing the opposite is far more beneficial! Join a group exercise class at a nearby gym, or book a paint and wine night where you and your friends can laugh the night away (like exercise, the Mayo Clinic reports laughter is proven to boost your mood). Yes, you’ll have to put on real pants (or not, we won’t judge!) and leave the couch, but we promise—the memories and social time will make leaving your blanket fort worthwhile.
Find Painting Events Near You for A Mid-Winter Pick-Me-Up
We may not be able to stop winter from happening, but we can help you avoid the sad feeling it sometimes brings with it! Fighting the winter blues can be as simple as spending time with those you love and practicing a fun new skill in a relaxing environment. Find nearby painting events for an unforgettable winter outing at Painting with a Twist. Don’t forget the wine!