Do you feel sad when it's cold outside? You aren’t alone. Many suffer from seasonal depression. But you can take measures to beat the winter blues!
Seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is clinically known as a "type of depression" that is related to the seasons. There are many different theories to this problem: vitamin D deficiency, hormonal imbalances (melatonin and serotonin), as well as age, family history, and so on. The common "winter blues" can be treated and prevented with the proper holistic strategies.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are common amongst any other emotional disorder; you most likely have experienced some or all of them at one time or another.
- Exhaustion or low energy
- Problems getting along with other people
- Hypersensitivity to rejection
- Feeling "heavy" physically, mentally, and emotionally
- Oversleeping: lack of passion or reason to wake up and start the day
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
I want to highlight again that these are all relatively common symptoms we've all probably have experienced. It might seem a simple idea; however, if you've experienced one or more of these symptoms in times other than during the fall or winter, could it be the problem is not the season?
If we want to overcome or cure our winter blues, it’s crucial we take our power back. One commonality in all depressive states is a sense of hopelessness: believing you are a victim to circumstance. This type of attitude thinks, "Well, now that it’s cold, snowing, and dark out. I can't go outside or enjoy life." They allow it to become cold and dark inside as well. Thought combined with belief provokes action. This type of attitude tends to lead these people into hibernating inside, feeling trapped against their will. Get out of feeling trapped this year:
Find friends who are into winter sports and ask to learn. Snowboard, ski, ice-luge, polar plunge, create ice-art; get wild as you want! Build snowmen, get into snowball fights, or go ice-skating. I've never met a child with the winter blues, have you? They're too busy capitalizing on the opportunities in each moment of the day; raking leaves and jumping into them, apple picking, igloo building, and sledding. If outdoor experiences aren’t up your alley, then at least find the fall and winter as an opportunity to get extra rest, take warm Epsom salt baths, or spend time working on that project you've been too busy for during the warmer months. Heal hopelessness-related emotional swings with opportunities supporting your real freedom and passions.
Practice Mindful Eating
Something I ask myself daily is “am I eating because I love myself or because I am bored with myself?” The wintertime is an easy environment to feel trapped in and bored with; however, it doesn’t need to be. If you skip creativity, you will more easily find yourself emotionally eating, leading to heaviness, lethargy, stagnant emotions, and of course weight gain. A little extra winter weight could be okay for the creative, active winter individual. You be the judge of this by keeping a keen relationship between your eating patterns and emotional patterns. Ask yourself the same question I ask myself: “Am I eating because I love myself or because I am bored with myself?” Ask this question each time you find food in front of you this winter.
Embrace the Good
I personally believe the source of most our issues comes down to our burdening expectations. Instead, of trying to change the weather, change your thoughts about it. Instead of buying into people projections or your own expectations of this cold season, consider what is great about winter to you. Are there opportunities during this time of the year that support your values and goals? Find the things that are good with the weather like the fact that snow pack soaks into the ground and provides water that gets us through the summer. The more you embrace life and its seasons, the more it will support you.
If you can’t accept it, change it
If you’ve gone through the creative process, have stayed alert, found appreciation and still find yourself depressed during the cold seasons, you might want to consider a move to somewhere warm year-round. Honor yourself. If warm weather would support your best interests, then you will better serve others. This is your life, and only you can make the changes and choices necessary for you to live that life with happiness. Know what’s best for you then give it to yourself! You deserve to be happy. Let go of your blame on the weather, forgive the seasons, forgive yourself for truly not enjoying the colder seasons and allow yourself the joy to be where you are most nourished.
You are important. You deserve to be happy.
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