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Meg is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. After going through high school thinking she “didn’t like to write,” she found her love for it her freshman year at college and it’s only deepened since then. Upon graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Communication in 2013, she began working in online marketing for the hospitality industry. She currently splits her time between NYC, where she works, and NJ, where she lives—but hopes that one day she’ll be able to live & work in the same state (that’s the dream).

6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Even though we’ll be through with this month in a couple of days, with a good portion of the Northeast still under a blanket of snow and dealing with freeze temps that just will not let up, many of us are finding ourselves stuck inside. I’m a pretty big fan of winter but even I find myself getting a little stir crazy when it’s difficult to do anything outside other than shovel. Approximately 10 million Americans get hit with these feelings hard and find themselves suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]. This disorder is a type of depression that only affects its sufferers during the winter months of the year, but it can be really draining and hard to overcome. If you find yourself feeling unusually down, antsy, or foul-mooded you might be suffering from SAD. Here are a few ways to try to get out of it.

via Muhammad Taslim Razin on flickr

Exercise

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Besides being a feminist icon, Elle Woods actually was on to something that can help us out here…you know, minus the whole murdering husbands thing because that doesn’t have much to do with SAD. But exercise does give you endorphins, which does work towards increasing your mood. There are plenty of ways to exercise without ever leaving your home so you won’t need to worry about hitting that cold. Maybe now is a great time to pick up yoga?

Go Outside

This might sound insane, because what is happening outside is the entire reason you’re feeling this way, right? But part of the reason SAD occurs is because your body misses the sunlight that you get much more often in the warmer months. Making yourself go outside will give you the exposure to that crucial sunlight which will help improve your mood. If you’re short on time and/or interested in being effective: combine going outside and getting exercise by going for a powerwalk or run during the daylight hours.

via Alan Stark on flickr

Hang Out with Friends

SAD can lead you to isolating yourself a bit—I mean, who wants to go out when they are feeling crummy? But now is actually the time to fight that pull to keep to yourself because hanging with your friends can have the same effect on your body that exercise does as far as hormones go. Laughing and having a good time increases serotonin (chemical involved in maintaining a balanced mood) in your body which can improve your emotional state.

Diffuse Essential Oils

If you are into natural or homeopathic treatments, try using essential oils. There are many different choices, some companies even have specific “mood lifting” or “emotional therapy” blends that are specifically created for times like these. I personally like to diffuse sweet orange essential oil and/or lemon essential oil in the winter—both have mood lifting properties and I can definitely tell a difference within myself when taking them. You can diffuse the oils in steaming water or buy a cheap plug-in diffuser, which is my method of choice. It’s a few more dollars than the water (because that’s free, obviously) but it takes much less time which makes it worth it.

Light Therapy

I mentioned previously that the cause of this depression is due to getting less sunlight that your body is used to. When getting that natural light is impossible, consider getting it from an artificial source like a light box. This box takes the place of the sunlight your body craves and requires 30 to 60 minutes of you sitting in front of it. This type of treatment is for serious sufferers of SAD as it involves investment in a light box and a consultation with a doctor to be sure that you have the correct one, so seek it out if nothing else is working.

Talk To A Doctor

As with any sort of mental illness, it’s important to seek help. Just because SAD only happens a few months out of the year doesn’t diminish it’s importance. These “winter blues” are a form of depression, so if your downed mood is starting to effect your life in ways that are making it difficult for you accomplish tasks, seek out a doctor to help you.

What do you do to keep your mood up in the winter months?

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Letter from the Editor: Spring Fever | The Hudsucker - March 3, 2015

    […] snowy months is “seasonal affect disorder,” but there are ways to get out of those winter blues in order to make this year your healthiest. Cold weather and continuous snowfall with no […]

  2. 5 Ways to Keep Exercising During Winter | The Hudsucker - January 18, 2016

    […] In a study from the University of Tampere in Finland, researchers stated that working out in nature leads to a greater emotional well-being and better sleep than exercising indoors—and that fact is no less true in winter than it is for spring, summer or fall. Sure it doesn’t feel like a viable plan with shorter days and darker nights draining our impetus to get outside, but with a creative mind, you can stay active this season by making the most of the cold weather, ultimately beating those winter blues. […]

  3. 5 Ways to Keep Exercising During Winter | westlifebunny - January 26, 2016

    […] In a study from the University of Tampere in Finland, researchers stated that working out in nature leads to a greater emotional well-being and better sleep than exercising indoors—and that fact is no less true in winter than it is for spring, summer or fall. Sure it doesn’t feel like a viable plan with shorter days and darker nights draining our impetus to get outside, but with a creative mind, you can stay active this season by making the most of the cold weather, ultimately beating those winter blues. […]

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