Last updated on February 18, 2020 at 04:38 pm
Although the snow can be pretty and nothing beats warming up by a fire, this time of year can be depressing for some people. And they’re not alone. Approximately 14 percent of the adult population in the United States suffer from the winter blues. Another seven percent suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
But what are the winter blues exactly? Are they the same as seasonal affective disorder? Yes and no. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a subtype of major depression that comes and goes with the seasons. The winter blues are also a seasonal depression but the symptoms are milder than those of SAD. Symptoms of SAD include irritability, low energy, oversleeping, weight gain, appetite changes, hypersensitivity to rejection, problems getting along with other people and experiencing a feeling of heavy arms and legs.
If you or someone you know suffers from the winter doldrums or seasonal affective disorder, there are ways to kick those blues to the curb:
- Exercise. This time of year it’s tempting to put on some comfy jammies and curl up on the couch or in bed eating comfort foods. But exercise will release endorphins and help elevate your mood. The internet is chock full of free exercise videos, so find what works best for you.
- Talk it out. Reach out to friends and family and catch up. When we start to feel bummed out by the cold and dark we tend to isolate ourselves, which only leads to feeling even more bummed out.
- Sleep. Sleep is often the first thing we cut when we get busy or distracted or procrastinate. Getting enough sleep should be a top priority. Make it so.
- Go outside. Although it’s cold outside, fresh air and sunshine will improve your mood. If the weather outside is too frightful, try sitting by a window to catch some rays.
- Stay warm. No, this doesn’t cancel out number four. Enjoy hot meals and hot nonalcoholic beverages often and pile on the layers. Try to keep your home’s thermostat up slightly. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference the added warmth can make.
- Eat healthy foods. Try to load up on greens when the winter doldrums hit. Not only does eating healthy help keep colds and viruses at bay, the nutrients also provide energy.
- Focus on resolutions. Don’t let those New Year’s resolutions fade away. Create a plan, set milestones and celebrate small victories. This will help to keep your mind off the springtime countdown while putting a little pep in your step.
- Treat yourself. Having something to look forward to can really keep you going even when the sun sets at 4:00 p.m. Consider a massage, facial or dinner out. It’s your treat so make it a good one!
- Take a whiff. Aromatherapy may help to lift your mood. Scents like lavender, bergamot, jasmine and citrus are said to help with seasonal depression. Try adding some to a hot bath or splurge for an aromatherapy diffuser or lamp.
- Bring in the professionals. While it’s normal to feel down some days, if you’re bummed out for days at a time and you can’t find the motivation to do the things you usually enjoy, call your doctor.
Here at Plymouth Rock Assurance, we’re beating the winter blues by eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and staying focused on our resolutions. What are some ways that you beat the winter blues? Tell us in the comments below!