Getting through winter is possible. Sunshine, longer days and warmer temperatures will return! Embrace winter and find the goodness of the season.
Getting through Winter
Cold and gloomy days are less noticeable because my mind is preoccupied with holiday festivities and preparations. Then comes January. Suddenly, the temperatures are more frigid, daylight hours are fewer, just a flake of snow is dismal, and I wonder if it will ever end. Long winter days hold many of us captive inside our homes and we may feel depressed or sad. Did you know that SAD is a real issue? It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Symptoms include feelings of hopelessness or agitation, loss of interest in activities, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, weight gain and low energy. Boosting your energy level is core to relieving symptoms.
When retiring for the night, resolve that tomorrow will be a great day. Allow yourself one hit on the snooze button but, during those few minutes, plan your day, what you’re going to wear (no pajamas allowed!) and what you’re going to eat for breakfast. A healthy regular diet is important to fending off SAD. At the second alarm get up, do a few big stretches, and start your day.
Natural light is vital, so open your curtains even on cloudy days. To augment the light, use a lamp near where you are working or sitting. Light therapy from the use of a light box or special therapy lamp can work wonders. These can be found on the internet at many price points. Candlelight (even battery-operated candles) creates a warm and cozy atmosphere. When surrounded by darkness, our biological clock thinks it’s time to sleep, so light is important to increasing energy.
Good Sleep Patterns
Good sleep patterns are essential. It’s OK to take a nap but not to sleep the day away, as that disrupts nighttime sleep. Establish routine bedtime and morning wake-up times.
Although perhaps counterintuitive, spend a few minutes a day outside. The outdoor light and fresh air will revive you. Better yet, take a walk. (If you have medical concerns, clear this with your physician.)
Do you have family or friends who are hibernating? Invite them for game night in your home. Socializing and laughing with others will dissipate that funk! The Danes endure harsh winters so they practice hygge (HUE-gah). “Hygge translates to connection, coziness and fellowship,” according to Kate McCarthy, author of “The Danish Secret to Getting Through Winter.” Danes have found huge benefit in social connection and communing with nature while ditching electronic devices.
Plan for Summer to Get through Winter
Start planning for summer! Browse seed catalogs and plot your garden. Make a list of outdoor projects and visit stores for ideas. Head to the library or bookstore for books on travel and plan your vacation. Some final quick tips:
- Stay hydrated. Water is important in all seasons.
- Peppermint-scented aromatherapy is energizing.
- Green tea is only mildly caffeinated, so a mid-afternoon drink is refreshing.
- Massage your energy channels, the outer edges of both ears, for 30 seconds.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, other therapy options include medications, psychotherapy or Vitamin D. If the general tips don’t help, a visit to your medical provider may be in order.
Hang in there. Sunshine, longer days and warmer temperatures will return! In the meantime, embrace winter and find the goodness of the season.
Check out these links, too:
- Winter Magic Holidays in Indiana
- Ladies and Gentlemen…Start Your Feet…WALK!
- Make Your Winter Healthy!