During the wintertime, many people begin to feel a little down. Due to the decrease in sunlight, it’s normal to feel a bit off. After all, this can cause one’s serotonin levels to drop, offset one’s internal clock, and even disrupt melatonin levels in the body. For example, you may experience reduced energy levels, irritability, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed and heightened depression. To overcome the winter blues and start enjoying the snowy season, consider trying out these ways to boost your mood during the winter.
Break A Sweat
You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but exercise really can help improve your mood if you’re in a slump. We get it—when you’re not feeling well, you probably want to spend the day sitting on the couch watching shows or eating comfort food. But if you’ve been doing that and it hasn’t really made you feel any better, it might be time to take a different approach.
While getting up and exercising outside in the cold or driving to a gym probably doesn’t sound all that appealing when you’re feeling down, doing so can help give you a rush of endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoid. When released in the brain, such chemicals can cause one to feel happier and more confident, which reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. If you plan on exercising outside in the cold, make sure to dress accordingly in hats, gloves, and full-coverage clothing so that you don’t get too chilly.
The state of your body can have an enormous impact on your mental health. As such, improving your diet may help you break out of your winter slump. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that those who eat a poor-quality diet that includes sweets, high-fat dairy products, and fried foods are more likely to experience symptoms of depression. By replacing unhealthy food items with healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables, you may notice a significant difference in your mood.
Being a bit more social may also help improve your mood. Many studies have displayed a link between having a more positive mood and regularly interacting with others. While being social during a time of social distancing poses a bit of a challenge, there are still several ways to increase your social interaction. For example, video chatting with a friend, playing virtual games with a loved one, or simply texting or talking on the phone can all help you increase the amount of social interaction you receive.
Talk To A Counselor
We hope that these ways to boost your mood during the winter help you break out of your seasonal funk. That being said, make sure to talk to your counselor (or get a counselor) if you experience significant seasonal affective disorder (SAD) symptoms such as feelings of depression daily, insomnia, or thoughts of death or suicide. Don’t dismiss your feelings or think like you have to work through them on your own. By talking to your doctor, you can receive a more specialized treatment plan that will more effectively suit your unique needs and get you feeling better more quickly.